So I did it. I haven't tasted them yet, we still might all die of some horrifying mistake I made during the process, but let's hope we don't, because I think these are going to be really, really good.
After researching, coming across articles and information beyond my wildest, I decided tonight was the night to at least try some business out. I wasn't too worried about my lack of supplies, beyond cherries, because almost every single recipe was for non-sealed cherries, with directions pointing out that basic sanitation and the cold, dark shelves of a calibrated refrigerator were more than enough to keep your boozy little lushes happy for at least three months, and on and on according to a few user comments and blog entries I read. While almost all recipes called for Cognac, or another decent brandy, I found a canning website that mentioned other liquor combinations and trusted this completely, like it was a Girl Scout Troop Leader, or a grandma who knows how to lie really well.
"Um, right. 'Liver Spots' mean truth, in several different languages and at least one local dialect."
Here's where I point out that the only alcohol, besides Kaluha, Baileys, red and white wine that we had was a half bottle of Jose Cuervo. So I was basically turning Google out, until it showed me what I wanted. Yeah, yeah. LIKE THAT. Tequila. Great. Excellent. Who knew!
Earlier, I had gone through my fridge and emptied out 3/4 scraped jars of jam and a large bottle of Maraschinos, because and I will state this again and again, I did not plan on sealing my jars and therefore didn't need to worry about reusing lids. If you do plan on sealing your jars, please follow all proper, sanctioned guides and food safety rules. I am absolving myself of all responsibility, seriously. We're totally of age here, and if you're not, if you're ten and wandering around the internet searching for 'Cherries' and 'Alcohol', this is not the website your parents hope you don't find.
After sterilizing them in my dishwasher, lids too, and the tongs I planned to use, I swirled together the following over medium-high heat.
1/2 + 1 TBS granulated white sugar
1/2 cup water
2 cinnamon sticks
6 whole cloves
Seeds and pod from 1/4 vanilla bean
Once it was clear and bubbling, I added the cherries. I was dumb, and didn't measure -- I worked off of what I thought would fill my two chosen, small-ish jars. I would say maybe 3 or 4 very heaping cups (to work with the proportions of syrup listed above), which I washed (do this in a bowl, to see if any float, a website I looked at pointed out that floaters could be hiding worms), and trimmed the stems slightly. But I did not pit.
The cherries bubbled for five minutes, maybe a little less. They should be just burnished and glossy, but not soft or mushy. Then, using tongs, I dropped them one by one (along with a cinnamon stick, inserted halfway, and a few cloves for each jar) into the jars. Once they were filled, I poured the hot syrup 'evenly' between the two, filling each one to their halfway mark. The jars were topped off to the brim with tequila, lids screwed very, very tightly on, turned upside down once or twice and left alone to cool. Even if the lids re-seal or ping, I have to plead with you to not trust them, keep the cherries in the fridge despite this false security.
So there we go. A little spice for your evening. Next, with my remaining jars, I plan to repeat this but with brandy and some strips of orange zest, a whole vanilla bean, and a thicker syrup. The trees outside are dripping with little Italian prunes, and pears are ripening in this ridiculous heat (broken today by flat grey skies and thunderclaps that split sleep in two, waking me up at seven on the dot), so I'd like to experiment with those backyard fruits. And as fun as this was, I'd like to try some real canning, before summer is over, and if it isn't already too late for most fruits. I know nothing about this area of food, but it makes me really, really excited to learn.