Romania has many delicious foods and drinks that are specific to this area. The sour cherry brandy that Romanians make in their own homes for over two thousands of years is an amazing beverage that you MUST try if you come to visit Romania. It is very important to buy the home-made edition and not the factory made edition, as the taste is very different in the store bottles.
The taste of Romanian Sour Cherry Brandy
The Romanian Sour Cherry Brandy is a sweet alcoholic drink and it can get you tipsy quite fast. The taste is amazing, but if you consider it to be too strong you can always add more water or even coca-cola. The red liquid you see above is great to drink at party but the real treat are the sour cherries. They are often used on cakes or in cookies. They taste so good, sweet but also kind of stingy from the alcohol. Mixing them with chocolate will result in a heavenly taste.
How to make Romanian Sour Cherry Brandy for yourself – Visinata recipe
Well, this not being a cooking website, I will explain the recipe at large and then you can see the exact quantities on the link below. So, first of all, you will need a lot of sour cherries and a big jug, pot or jar. Wash the sour cherries and take of their stumps. Then you need to put layer of cherries on the bottom of the jug, then a layer of sugar, then once again one of sour cherries and one of sugar. You do that until you are out of cherries. Then seal the jug with a lid and wait for two weekes. All this time, it is better if you can stir in the jar twice a day. After two weeks you must mix in the alcohol. Some Romanian recipes use plum brandy (also home-made) but other use vodka or pure alcohol bought from the store. Either way it is good.
The jar is then left in a dark place at room temperature for about 100 days. Contents are rolled around occasionally during this time period to encourage proper mixing, especially during the fermentation time. You must choose good, healthy sour cherries for your drink as they are very important to the taste of this beverage. See a more detailed recipe of Romanian Sour Cherry Brandy here. * note: you must make this drink with sour cherries, NOT with sweet cherries.
A recipe passed on from generation to generation from ancient times till now
Some historical sources tell that the Cherry Brandy recipe was known by the Thracians even in the year 200 BC. The mix might have been poured in cups like the one in the photo below. Some say that those ancient people used the juice from sour cherries as a cure for different diseases. Legends tell that even the Romans who came to conquer the territories were amazed by the taste of this sweet beverage.
When, where, how much?
I strongly recommend that if you come here you would try the Romanian Sour Cherry Brandy. But, as I said in the beginning, you shouldn’t buy it from the store but from peasants making it at home. To be sure you buy a quality product look for small markets opened near almost every major tourist attractions in Romania. For example, you can find this near the entrance of Bran Castle, Peles Castle, The great cave of the Bear, Corvin Castle, in Sighisoara or Brasov city and in many other places like these.
In such small markets you will also find a beverage very similar to the Sour Cherry Brandy but made from blueberry. This drink is called “afinata” and it is also great. You can try both. A good place to buy such things looks just like the one in he photo below. I personally bought sour cherry brandy from this lady and it was awesome!
The price would be about 5 euros tops for a 2 litres. You must pay in lei so be sure you will have your money changed.