Check out our guide to kirsch, including where to buy it and plenty of recipe inspiration, then read about what is mead, rose water and madeira.

What is kirsch?

Kirsch is a clear spirit made from distilling sour cherries. It differs from cherry brandy which is generally brandy infused with cherries, as opposed to being distilled from them. Mainly produced in Germany, kirsch has an alcohol content of around 40% ABV and can be drunk alone, mixed into cocktails or used in desserts, such as Black Forest Gateau; it’s also traditionally used to flavour fondue.

Where to buy kirsch

Kirsch, £9.50/20cl, Waitrose
Kirsch is mainly produced in Germany and this classic German bottle is a staple to have in the cupboard.

Luxardo Kirsch de Cuisine Liquor, £12.50/50cl, Amazon
Best known for making sticky maraschino cherries to add to cocktails, Luxardo also makes a range of liqueurs including amaretto, limoncello and this classic kirsch.

Kirsch recipes

Cherry pie

Combine cherries in kirsch from a jar with fresh black cherries to make a comforting filling for this sweet shortcrust pastry pie.

Slice of cherry pie on a plate

Cherry clafoutis

Try this versatile dessert with whatever berries or fruits are in season – cherries, blueberries and even pears work well, so the options are almost endless.

A large cherry clafoutis in a round dish with a spoon

Chocolate, cherry and pistachio babka

Bake a festive showstopper – this enriched bread is laced with kirsch and studded with cherries, dark chocolate and pistachios.

An intricate chocolate babka set against a green background

Black forest cupcakes

Cherries, kirsch and dark chocolate come together in an indulgent, grown-up cupcake. This recipe makes 12, which means (if you can resist eating them all yourself) there’ll be plenty to go around.

Black Forest Cupcakes


Adam Bush Chef Portrait
Adam BushDeputy food editor