There are two secret truths to making traditional cheese fondue. The first is that most people don’t keep kirsch, a clear brandy made from cherries, in their home bar. Kirsch is the traditional seasoning for many styles of fondue, adding a touch of fruity sweetness that brings out the same in cheeses like Gruyere and Emmental. The second is that kirsch isn’t sold by the tablespoon — so if you want to make fondue, it’s inevitable that you’ll be left with most of a bottle of brandy. You can always make more fondue, but if your gut can’t take that much cheese, here are some other options:
- Make dessert: Kirsch, which has its origins in Germany, Switzerland, and France, is used in the classic recipes for Swiss Zuger kirschtorte, black forest cake, clafoutis, and cherries jubilee, to name a few. It also works as a replacement in most dessert recipes that call for brandy or rum, especially if you think they could use a little light cherry flavor.
- Make a cocktail, or drink it neat: There is nothing wrong with sipping some kirsch while you’re enjoying your fondue, but you could add a shot to a glass of sparkling wine. There are also plenty of cocktails involving kirsch, like the Colombe and the classic Rose. And kirsch definitely wouldn’t be out of place in a Dirty Shirley.
- Make your own cocktail cherries: You can preserve cherries in a mixture of kirsch, water, and spices. Or if that feels too time consuming, you can always keep some cherries soaking in kirsch in the fridge, ready to garnish your drink.
- Make focaccia: If sweet baking isn’t your thing, King Arthur has a recipe for no-knead balsamic cherry focaccia, topped with glazed cherries, kirsch, rosemary, and plenty of flaky sea salt.