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Cherries ripe for Adelaide Hills liqueur

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Adelaide Hills distillers Brendan and Laura Carter are producing a liqueur from local second-grade cherries that aren’t pretty enough for the supermarket shelves.

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The Carters produce wine under the label Unico Zelo, perfumes under the label NØmad and, more recently, small-batch spirits under the label Applewood Distillery.

Experimentation is at the heart of everything they do at Applewood Distillery.

Since releasing their first gin in August, they have produced small batches of experimental gins with ingredients including lavender, chai and cherries, as well as a range of liqueurs including limoncello, arancello and amaro.

The latest release from Applewood Distillery in March was a Cherrycello liqueur, made from cherries that were too small for supermarket standards.

“It sold out in a day. We were surprised – it’s a pretty unusual product and it has a great back-story,” says Laura Carter.

When the Carters approached Lennane Orchards about lemons for their limoncello, they were pointed to the cherries instead.

“The cherries are a major source of Lennane Orchards’ income, but 5 to 10 per cent of their produce often gets wasted. The quality of cherries is actually in their size but anything with small blemishes, bruises or dents isn’t wanted,” explains Carter.

The Cherrycello was seen as a win-win for everyone. The orchard could sell its unwanted cherries instead of composting them, and the Carters could try something new and unusual.

“It’s a European tradition – old grapes are turned into wine and bad wine is turned into brandy, which never goes off,” adds Carter.

“We’ve found the Cherrycello has aged in the bottle. A friend said it tasted like a Cherry Ripe.”

applewood whisky

Applewood Distillery Cherrycello.

The plan is to make the Cherrycello a seasonal release over the Christmas period.

Carter adds that a new batch of Cherrycello is on the way, as well as a second batch of Single Malt due for release over winter.

In March, Applewood Distillery’s first batch of Single Malt also sold out within a day.

The Carters say their Cherrycello can be enjoyed on ice or with a biscotti for dipping.

“We tend to drink cellos the Italian way. Keep it in the freezer and have it as a digestif after a good meal,” she says.

Applewood Distillery Cherrycello is available for tasting at its cellar door in Gumeracha, which is open by appointment Thursdays to Saturday.

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