Vishniak Uppdate


It is nearly two weeks since I first started brewing homemade vishniak. Just to recap, one container has a mixture of pitted cherries, sugar, and vodka. The other container, the Lanie S. recipe, has unpitted cherries and sugar. Lanie S. instructed me to let the mixture ferment for two weeks before adding the vodka. (Note: I added about 1 2/3 cups vodka)

The mixture of cherries and sugar is certainly fermenting. The sugar dissolved and the cherries gave up liquid. As you can see from the above picture, there is about an inch of cherry colored liquid beneath the floating cherries. The liquid is slightly bubbling, like a barely carbonated beverage. There is an overpowering alcoholic aroma coming from the mixture.

top view of Lanie S. vishniak starter

top view of Lanie S. vishniak starter

The cherry, sugar, and vodka mixture, strangely enough, does not smell alcoholic especially (certainly not by comparison the Lanie S. sugar/cherry mixture!). The blueberry, sugar, vodka mixture does smell alcoholic. The liquid in all the mixtures is infused a deep color.

update: After I add the vodka to the Lanie S. mixture, it continues to smell stronger than the other liqueur for a long time. By September, the Lanie S. mixture gives off slightly less intense fumes. Sometime in the intervening weeks, I put the Lanie S. mixture through coffee filters a few times to get rid of this white sediment that seems to have fallen to the bottom of the container. (Part of the fermentation process?)

update: the visinata is ready!

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7 Responses to “Vishniak Uppdate”

  1. Homemade Sour Cherry Brandy (Visinata or Vishniak) « Pragmatic Attic Says:

    […] update: see follow-up post. […]

  2. Madam Chow Says:

    I have to see how this turns out!

  3. Malackym Says:

    My wife (her family is Romanian and this is their family recipe) and I make Visinata every year. Recipes do vary. We make it by mixing sugar and Pitted Bing Cherries in gallon jars for two weeks or so, until the sugar is dissolved. Strain the Cherries from the juice and add alcohol to the cherry juice. We then stuff the Cherries into bottles and add the mix of cherry juice and alcohol into the bottles. We seal the bottles with wax and let them sit. We make about 15 bottles a year and let them sit a few years until they “mellow”. The do get “smoother” as time goes by.


    • pragmaticattic Says:

      Thank you for your wonderful description of how you and your wife make visinata. So interesting to find out about that variation. Also, very interesting (and good to know) that you can use Bing cherries, too. Also, good to know that the visinata needs to age a bit . . . .

  4. Visinata and Honey Cake (Lekach and Branfen) | Pragmatic Attic Says:

    […] Post 2: Fermentation results, July through September […]

  5. Tony Says:

    As a child, in Romania, I remember the short season in June/July characterized by what we called “visine”–the term is pronounced “vee-shee-neh.” Most people talk about tart cherries like Morellos and such. I left the country at four, but I remember the summer before I helped my grandma making the visinata(pronounced: vee-shee-nah-tah). I remember the sour cherries being a dark maroon color. They had the same color as the sweet cherries, but they were designated at the market by label. The difference was this: (and this comes by the memory of a one time toddler: the sweet cherries[cirese;pronouced chee-reh-sheh, were always purely sweet, the visine,as we called them, were still very sweet but their sweetness, at full harvest, always had a weirdly wonderful flavor(I remember this because whenever I helped my grandma make visinata, I would always pop one berry into the jug, the taminjana, and the next into my mouth. In the US now, it’s akin to the SourPunch brand, but, in those days, I loved what my kin called “visne.” For me they tasted like pure candy: imagine the largest dark red cherry you have ever seen, then imagine putting it into your mouth and the first taste you get in the very first millisecond is one of bitterness, then tartness, then sweetness with a distinct aftertaste of almond. Those were the “true” sour cherries I grew up with!

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