Sour Cherry Vinegar
Yields 2 jars or bottles of about 8 oz.
This fruity, sweet-tart vinegar uses dried sour cherries, so it's just as easy to make in December as in July, and there's no need to pull out the cherry pitter. Package it in a tall, clear, skinny bottle to show off its garnet hue. Include a gift card with a suggestion to make a vinaigrette by whisking this aromatic vinegar with a nut oil, such as hazelnut or walnut.
3 cups red-wine vinegar
1-1/2 cups dried sour cherries (about 7-3/4 oz.)
Combine the vinegar and cherries in a large airtight glass container. Let stand at room temperature for 2 days.
Strain the mixture through a fine sieve into a medium saucepan, pressing down on the cherries with the back of a wooden spoon to extract as much of the cherry juice as possible. Discard the cherries.
Bring the vinegar to a boil over high heat and then remove immediately from the heat. Cool to room temperature. Divide the vinegar between two clean 8-oz. jars or bottles.
Photo: Scott Phillips