bottles of Cherriots of Sour from early recipes

Developing Cherriots of Sour Recipe

Developing and refining the recipe for Cherriots of Sour took well over a year, and arguably was born over a decade before. We had a cherry mead flavor back in the Mead Kitchen days, but did things a little differently back then. For that cherry mead, we pressed the cherries and added only the cherry juice during fermentation. Basically the mead never got to sit on the skins or the cherry meat during fermentation. This was always one of my favorite sparkling meads back then. When launching Modern Day Meadery, I knew I would introduce a cherry sparkling mead of my own.

Recipe First Draft

I started my first sparkling cherry mead in April 2022, buying fresh cherries from the Lake Merritt farmer’s market, pitting them by hand, and puréeing the cherry meat before throwing it all into the mead pot.

fresh cherries and honey from the farmers market to make cherry mead
fresh cherry mead fermenting in a carboy

This first batch of sparkling cherry mead tasted good! But most of the feedback was, “needs more cherries!” So I went back to the drawing board with the recipe, increasing the cherries and adding lime to it because I thought “hey, cherry and lime go great together, why not try it?!” For this batch it was prime cherry season and the cherries were deep and dark. I was excited

Recipe Second Draft

fresh cherries and limes ready to be pureed into sparkling mead
cherry lime sparkling mead fermenting in a 5-gallon carboy

This next batch of sparkling mead, a cherry lime mead, tasted even better than the first version! I was stoked with the direction it was heading. But I was still getting feedback around needing more cherry flavor. Hmm …

I note here: it would usually take about 2 hours to pit and purée enough cherries for a 5-gallon batch of sparkling mead. This definitely wouldn’t scale for commercial production. I needed to find a quality source of cherry purée (with skins!).

It’s now Fall 2022 and there’s certainly no more cherries at the farmer’s market. However, I’m talking to a potential supplier of fresh fruit purée and they have a couple different types of cherry purée available. So I politely ask for some samples of each, and bang, they hook me up! I’ve got an opportunity to dive back into the cherry mead recipe for some further refinement.

The First of the Sour Meads

While handing out samples of my home-brew sparkling mead and talking with various bar and bottle shop owners, I got inspired … what about a SOUR cherry lime sparkling mead?! Sour cherry is always a popular flavor. So I did some research on kettle sours and sour meads and decided to give one a try with the cherry purée samples I had. With two samples available to me – a sweet cherry and a sour cherry – I decided to make both of them sour cherry lime. I had limited cherry purée samples, so these first two sours were 1 gallon batches each.

several different small test batches of sparkling mead fermenting
test recipes of cherriots of sour aging just prior to bottling

Eureka! This sour cherry lime recipe was delicious! My first attempt at a sour sparkling mead, and both of the test batches turned out great. Crisp and bright, fully of sour cherry pucker, unique and tasty. I was excited, and now I needed to come up with a name for this sparkling sour cherry lime mead.

sour cherry sparkling mead

The name Cherriots of Sour came up long after the recipe was born. However, it didn’t come up immediately. I got stock on “Sweet Cherrolime” for a long time. I knew “sweet” was dead wrong, but anything else would’ve lost the ring and the nod back to good old Mr. Diamond. We started with Cherriots of Fire and then Cherriots of Sour emerged, like the phoenix. Finally, we had a delicious recipe and we had a name: Cherriots of Sour.

Recipe Refinement

Now for further recipe refinement. I had only done 1-gallon batches of the first two sours, so scaling to 5-gallon batches was the next step. I also wanted to do some further testing with different yeast combinations, both for flavor and mouth feel (they produce the bubbles at the end). But I needed more cherry purée! So I begged the supplier for another, larger sample, and alas they came through. Back into mead-making-mode.

For the final round of recipe refinement, I made two 5-gallon batches of Cherriots of Sour, varying different yeast combinations between the two to test a couple different ideas. Similar to the prior versions, both of them ended up being really good. However one was just a bit more interesting than the other, pointing the recipe further in the right direction. Here’s a short video bottling one of these Cherriots of Sour recipe variations:

In July 2023 we started the first commercial batch of Cherriots of Sour and it was available for purchase two months later … absolutely delicious, even better than any of the recipe testing batches made prior.

Try Cherriots of Sour for yourself!

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Modern Day Mead carboy and cups