The word "Kirschwasser" is German for "cherry water" and is the name of a clear brandy popular in Germany and Switzerland. These two countries are the most famous producers of the cherry brandy Kirschwasser. German Kirschwasser is believed to originate in South Germany, in the region of the Black Forest. In fact, the region of the Black Forest is linked with Kirschwasser history even today.
Kirschwasser is produced through a double distillation process of black cherry juice. Distillation involves boiling water to remove impurities. The process is somewhat tedious and requires much effort, but double distillation produces incredibly pure water.
Originally, only the sour black cherries were used, though today both sour and sweet cherries, along with their pits, are used to make the cherry brandy Kirschwasser. The black cherries are mashed, fermented and mixed with the pure double distilled water to produce this cherry brandy drink.
Kirschwasser has traditionally been served cold in small glasses as an appetizer before societal dinners as well as family gatherings. In Germany, it is normally served after dinner and at room temperature, as most with most types of brandy. In this environment, it is served in a snifter. Kirschwasser is also enjoyed by many when added to coffee and espresso drinks.
You may be wondering "what is Kirschwasser: schnapps or brandy?" It is a brandy, though schnapps is a generic German term for fruit brandy. In most instances, Kirschwasser is treated and drank as if it were a brandy.
Those who drink Kirschwasser prefer it because it does not have an overly sweet taste. It has, instead, a refined taste with a subtle flavor of cherry that is not overpowering. Many prefer it as an alternative to cognac and serve it in the same manner.
Kirschwasser is used as much as a flavor addition to foods as it is as a drink. The most common use of it in foods is in Swiss cheese fondue. This is a popular food in Switzerland and is also gathering fame in the United States and other parts of the world. Along with fondue, Kirschwasser''s flavor makes it a vital ingredient in cakes, most notably the Black Forest cake.
Though it is not a sweet brandy, Kirschwasser is used in many instances as the center filling in chocolate candies because of its cherry flavor.
While there are hundreds of desert and cheese recipes that include Kirschwasser, there are just as many Kirschwasser mixed drinks that you can serve for yourself and your friends. Here are a few recipes for Kirschwasser cocktails.
Squeeze the lime juice into a Collins glass and then drop the remaining shell. Add ice and pour in the Kirschwasser first, followed by the Coca Cola.
Shake ingredients and then pour into a glass. Add a bit more cream and a cherry on top to serve.
Pour each liquid (in the order listed above) into a highball glass filled with ice and add a lemon twist if desired.