i know i've mentioned it before, and probably will another million times - i live in cherry heaven, the cherry capital of the world (really, our airport is even called the cherry capital airport). tart cherries are where we garner our fame, but my favorite part of cherry season is the abundance of incredible sweet black cherries. country roads, no matter where you're headed, are dotted with stands selling bags of sweet cherries. subsequently, no late july drive through the country is complete without a bag full of cherries in my cupholder, spitting the pits out the window as i drive. pure heaven, you'll have to come visit and try it out sometime!
all year round, tart cherries are easy to find in the freezer of every grocery store, but it is rare to find frozen sweet cherries. so each summer, i spend hours (or days, if i'm lucky) pitting cherries to squirrel away in my freezer so i can enjoy this sweet beautiful flavor all winter long. and share it with friends, of course. for quite some time, i was hooked on cherry almond smoothies, but this sorbet has won out as the best use of sweet cherries to date.
of course, i can't help but make it all months of the year, but come july - this is going to be my hot day savior. maybe we'll even toss a scoop in a glass of champagne for a grown-up drink!
a note about the bourbon: you don't have to use if it you want to keep your sorbet free of booze, but the alcohol helps create the perfectly silky texture of this frozen treat. you can use vodka to get the texture without the flavor, but bourbon and cherries go together like peaches and cream. so if you don't mind a boozy flavor, stick with the bourbon. i usually use traverse city whiskey for a smooth flavor, but have been known to use some 100 proof wild turkey for a really intense kick!
3 cups pitted black cherries, defrosted if frozen
1 cup cane sugar
1/4 cup water
2 tsp bourbon (optional)
3 Tbsp lemon juice
puree cherries and sugar in a blender or food processor until the sugar has dissolved. i usually crank my vitamix up to high and let it run for at least one minute. dissolving the sugar is key to getting a smooth texture in your sorbet!
with the blender or food processor running (keep your blender on a lower speed, so you don't spay everywhere!), add water, bourbon, and lemon juice. let it run for a few moments until fully combined.
follow your ice cream maker's instructions and churn mixture for about 30 minutes, or until it is thick and icy. scoop into a chilled container, and freeze for at least two hours before serving.
for optimal enjoyment, serve with thin shortbread cookies!