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So What Do I Do With All This Extra Kirsch?

Cheese fondue recipes often call for a splash of kirsch. Here’s what to do with the rest of the bottle.

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Collage of a black forest cake and cherries on a plaid patterned background. Lille Allen/Eater
Jaya Saxena is a Correspondent at, and the series editor of Best American Food and Travel Writing. She explores wide ranging topics like labor, identity, and food culture.

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.