There is a tradition in the Caretaker house at Christmas, and it includes the drinking of a fine liqueur called Cherry Brandy. This lovely rich dark drink has been made for centuries. My favourite brand is, of course De Kuyper, who have been in this game since 1695! The company was originally set up to produce the barrels and casks for spirits and beers, and soon started distilling their own produce. In 1920 they began making liqueurs, and by the 1930s had started their Cherry Brandy line.
Cherry Brandy is what De Kuyper is perhaps the most well-known of their products, although there is quite a repertoire. They are responsible for a huge range of different liqueurs, as well as Schnapps, Brandies and Cremes. In 1995, on the very anniversary of their formation, they received the coveted "Royal" title, this was from Queen Beatrice of the Netherlands. From that moment on, the company became Royal De Kuyper Distillers, having previously been called Johannes de Kuyper and Zoon.
This drink comes in several sizes, all in glass bottles. These bottles are the distinctive "Onion" shape and have a metal screw cap. The labels are very attractive, and give all the information you need. I will not spend any more time on these labels. The strength of this liqueur is 24% alcohol by volume, so it is not too strong.
OK, you now open the bottle, and get a whiff of the lovely aroma. You can smell the rich dark cherries, You pour the drink into a small clear glass and look at the ruby-red colour, it looks very inviting. You take a small sip, and feel the glowing warmth of a very nice drink. There is a long aftertaste, and the warmth is still there as it goes down your throat. This is typical of the type of warming drink you have at this festive time of year.
I usually pay just under ten pounds for half a litre, or 700 ml for £14, I do think this price is quite acceptable for Christmas celebrations. You may see it for less of course, and the usual advice is to shop around.
I have made my own version of Cherry Brandy, using Cherry wine and Vodka, and tried to make it taste just like De Kuyper, of course. These attempts, although very nice, have never produced a good imitation. I still recommend De Kuyper Cherry Brandy before any other.