By Contributing Writer

Kirschwasser, German for "cherry water" and often shortened to Kirsch in English-speaking countries, is a colorless brandy made from black morello cherries and their pits.

What is Kirsch Liqueur?


The morello cherries are fermented "complete," which means with the pit or stone still in place. Kirsch is a double-distilled liqueur.


Kirsch, unlike generic cherry brandies and liqueurs, does not taste sweet. The subtle cherry flavor is mingled with a slightly bitter-tasting almond taste, which comes from the pits.

Served Neat

Kirschwasser is traditionally served cold and neat, meaning the liqueur is chilled in the bottle and served in a glass with no mixers and no ice. Some people prefer to enjoy Kirsch served at room temperature or hand-warmed in a brandy snifter.


Kirsch is used to create several cocktails, including the Florida Cocktail, Black Forest, Major Tom and Lady Finger.

In Food

Kirsch is a featured and required ingredient in both Black Forest Cake and Swiss cheese fondue. The liqueur is also used as a filling in certain types of chocolate candies, including those made by Swiss chocolatier Lindt, and dramatically set aflame in the dessert known as Cherries Jubilee.