What could go better after having chopped down a tree (well I got about 1/3 of the job done today with a hand saw), albeit not a cherry tree, than some fine German Kirschwasser (Cherry Brandy) made in the Black Forest? Wait, please don't tell me - I know - some Kirschwasser and a couple of hefe Weissbiers. The way I anticipate my muscles and joints to start aching tonight or tomorrow, sort of like the tree must have felt, I figure a nice neat dollop of Kirschwasser and a couple of biers will hit the spot and maybe also smooth out some knots in my muscles before they get to stiff like a tree's. Of course, if I drink a bit more than what I plan to imbibe then I may wind up turning into a stiff, or at least wind up sort of zombie like anyway.
Kirschwasser, although called a brandy, tastes nothing like any brandy that has ever passed my lips before. It is much more akin to the home stilled white lightning like concoction that my friends' dad used to make down in his basement. Good old Mr. Stiene (hope I spelled that right, as I remember it was not Steine but Stiene but those days are hazier now than they were even back then) had a still set up right in the basement next to the older of his two son's room, right there next to the washer and dryer if I remember right. He would be sitting there when we went over to hang out with Gas (one of his two sons) and every time he saw me he invited me for one and one always turned into two! Two wouldn't be a concern except for the fact that the clear as pure water liquid refreshment that he had dripping out of that still, drop by drop, started at about 125 proof and went all the way up to about 160 or 170 depending on the batch. I always thought the best stuff was right at 132-136 proof - funny how I have remembered those numbers after all these years but I have to admit the stuff was memorable. He basically fermented fruit peels, and other bits of fruit he gathered from fruit he and his wife grew at a summer cottage they in owned upstate NY. Mrs. Stiene would make preserves, and things like Apfel Strudel (sometimes a whole one just for me) and Mr. Stiene would turn the leftovers into a stairway to heaven or at least into one heck of a good tasting drink that cured the common cold as I recall. If I was coming down with the sniffles or other cold signs, I did not have em anymore after two shots of that magical elixir.
But I digress, so let me get back to the Kirschwasser. It is very much like what Mr. Stiene used to make. I love it. The particular brand I was able to find lately, after not having had any in probably 5 years now, is made by Alfred Schladerer (amazing I could spell that without looking, must be the German in me). It is 82 proof, nowhere near the stronger homemade stuff of my younger years but tasty indeed. I used to drink what I think was another brand, or at least a stronger version of this brand. It was around 90-100 proof as I recall though that was long ago and I could have that wrong. Regardless, it is one heck of a drink - somewhere between white lightning and rubbing alcohol. Now that may not seem like much of an endorsement but it is, really. You see, the first time you have it, you will probably think of either the rubbing alcohol taste on an oral thermometer or maybe rocket fuel - or both. As you settle back and get used to it, it grows on you or at least inside of you as it warms your soul and so does your liking for it grow. That is of course if you have a taste for things like neat whiskey. I say neat because it is the only way I have ever drank this Teutonic elixir. I suppose you could mix it with fruity juices or sweet sodas and it would taste great, it would probably make a super fine ingredient for a fruit punch, but I like mine straight and as I said it is the only way I have ever let it pass my lips. By the way, despite the name of Kirschwasser (literally cherry water) there is not a hint of cherry in it that I can taste. Of course that was the same with Mr. Stiene's home made magical elixir, you would never have guessed it was made from things like grape peels, peach peels, apple peels and the like.
Now, while I just said I drink it straight, I must also point out that Kirschwasser is a wonderful accompaniment to biers, especially to weissbier of the hefe (yeast) variety. I have already written, more than once, about my love for weissbier so let me just end this post here so that I can run upstairs and grab the two I have waiting for me in the freezer. They should be just about perfect by now, just like the Kirschwasser that I have been enjoying while I have written this post.
Remember - drink responsibly and legally!
All the best,
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