Thursday, May 26, 2016

Boozy Spiced Cherries with Vodka and Brandy for Food 'N Flix May Pick: 'The Witches of Eastwick'

Every month I swear I am going to get my Food 'N Flix post up early and every month, it gets pushed to the last week. (heavy sigh...) Particularly silly when I knew what I wanted to make even before re-watching the movie, have even had it made for a few days, and STILL can't seem to get it posted early. 

Ah well, I do think these tasty, boozy little cherries are worth the wait. 

Our Food 'N Flix movie this month is The Witches of Eastwick, hosted by Kimberly of Coffee and Casseroles. (You can see her announcement post here.) I have seen this 1987 film several times over the years, although it's been a while and I had never focused on the food, so a good re-watching was in order. I ended up ordering a copy for $4.99 when I couldn't seem to get it into my Netflix queue in time to watch it before the end of the month. 

If for some reason you haven't seen it, Alexandria (Cher), Jane (Susan Sarandon), and Sukie (Michelle Pfieffer) are three friends from the small town of Eastwick. All three have been let down by men in various ways and they have weekly get-togethers where they drink martinis, eat junk food, and talk about their lives and the lack of men. One night they get specific with a list of qualities their fantasy man must have and the next day, a devilish stranger (Jack Nicholson) arrives in town. In quick succession, he seduces all three of them and soon their lives are turned upside down and the community is in an uproar. Since it appears they conjured him up, can they get get rid of him before it's too late?


The Witches of Eastwick is a fun, dark comedy with some of my favorite actors, but my biggest issue with this movie pops up in my mind whenever I watch it and I have to get it off my chest. Why do they stick poor Michelle Pfeiffer in possibly the world's most hideous outfit (Is it pajamas, a romper? I am never quite sure...) in the big sexy ballroom/balloon playing/party scene? (Actually through most of the movie--even once Alex and Jane have new looks, Sukie still gets most of the dumpy clothes. Although she does have that one tropical pattern pajama/robe set that I do like...) But back to the big party scene in question--Cher gets a sexy LBD, Susan Sarandon gets a sexy gold lamé dress, and poor Michelle Pfeiffer is stuck in a black and white (paisley-ish?) shapeless monstrosity and hat. I assume that it was something to do with her being just under 30 when the movie was made and Cher and Sarandon had just dipped into the 40s pool, so maybe it got put into their contracts that Pfeiffer has to look as  frumpy as possible? Not an easy task. I saw her once in a bookstore in Kailua with her kids, sans any makeup in a basic tee-shirt dress and she was luminously gorgeous. Anyway, wardrobe issues aside (and there are a lot of wardrobe issues in this 80s film)..., it's an entertaining film and one of these days I will actually get around to reading the John Updike novel it is based on and compare the two; but now let's talk food.

There is actually a surprising amount of food and drink in The Witches of Eastwick that I had never paid attention to--from food in the kitchen at Alex's house--toast, bananas and condiments, to zucchini jam at Sukie's and a gigantic zucchini in a basket. The Thursday night party has them unloading beer, Easy Cheese Spray, crackers, potato chips, and popcorn in the kitchen and drinking martinis. Daryl tells Alex that they are having fish for lunch the day he seduces her--although it looks more like there is a pile of eggs, some kind of meat and fruit on the table and I can't quite tell what dessert is. Jane goes shopping at the local market eating a jar of pickles, picking up double-double chocolate cookies, fruit, and whipped cream and after the women trick Daryl to get him out of his house (so they can create a spell to send him away), he goes to town to buy them bagels (and gravlax) and ice cream (pistachio and chocolate-chocolate chip). 

But, if there is one food that you can't help but associate with this movie, it is red, ripe and luscious cherries. There is an abundance of fruit shown in the movie--big platters and bowls in Daryl's mansion, including a gigantic bowl of cherries that ends up being used two different times in a spell that has the victims (Felicia and Daryl) projectile vomiting  cherry pits out of their mouths

Cherries really are kind of sexy--their color, their shape, their sweetness. (Albeit much more so when being eaten rather than when the pits are spewing from your mouth...) Cherries capture the mood of this movie for me and since Whole Foods put organic ones on sale recently and I have had this recipe for Spiced Vodka Cherries pinned forever, I knew they had to be my dish. 

Fresh cherries are pricked with a needle and then infused in a mix of vodka, cherry brandy (I used Kirsch), fruit juice and juniper berries and allspice. Delicious Magazine says, "Feel smug in the knowledge that you've imbibed a few vitamins along with the alcohol with this sophisticated party drink.

The magazine had a shot of the cherries piled in shot glasses with small spoons so I did something similar with my favorite tiny cordial glasses. (Local thrift store find $2.00 for a set of 6. Love!) I think the cherries would also be wonderful in a glass of vodka lemonade or other cocktail, or with a scoop of rich vanilla ice cream.

Spiced Vodka Cherries
From Delicious
(Enough for 6 People--or more)

450g (about 2 lbs) fresh cherries, stems left on
400ml (about 1 3/4 cups) cranberry juices
200ml (about 1 cup) vodka
200ml (about 1) apple juice
50ml (about 1/4 cup) cherry brandy (orange liqueur is a good alternative) (I used Kirsch)
1 Tbsp juniper berries, crushed 

pinch of ground allspice

Prick the cherries in several places with a sterilized needle. Mix all the remaining ingredients together in a large jug or bowl.

Add the cherries, cover and set aside in a cool place for anything from 1-12 hours before serving up in shot glasses.

Store in a tightly-covered jar in the fridge. 

Notes/Results: These are pretty yummy--a nice blend of sweet and tart with the slightly piney, citrus vibe from the juniper berries and the clove-ish pungency of the allspice.  The cherries absorb the flavors and the alcohol quite well and I think these little fruits could be quite dangerous as they are bordering on addicting. Because they are left with the stem and pit, they are just slightly unwieldy to eat neatly but that's all part of the adventure. Just dispose of the pits as delicately as possible rather than the fountain style of the movie and all is good. I am happy to finally get this pin crossed off my to-make list and I although I currently have a large canning jar of these in my fridge, I have no doubt I will work my way through them and will happily make them again. 

The deadline for this month's Food 'N Flix event is Monday, May 30th. Kimberly will be rounding up the entries shortly after on her blog. If you missed this month but like food, films, and foodie films, join us for June when Evelyne of CulturEatz will be hosting I Am Love.



  1. Those look so good. Thanks for jumping in this month.

    And to answer your pet peeve of the wardrobe...she was pregnant during filming and they were hiding it for half the film.

    1. Thanks for hosting Kimberly and for answering my issue. That makes sense, although it is possible to hide a pregnancy without hideous patterns so I still think someone hated her! ;-)

  2. "fountain style" <--- ha ha ha! I would definitely love to imbibe (and feel smug) in these, they sound right up my alley. So perfect for WofE. I thought about her clothes, too...didn't realize she was pregnant. That's got to account for most of it. Still - seems like they could have done a little better. Of course, it was the 80's, maybe that was actually in style back then?

    1. Yes Heather, I didn't think about the pregnancy thing but I think they could have done better. Not sure that outfit was ever in style in any decade! ;-)

  3. I haven't seen that movie in over 10 years! Love the cherries.And the tip for getting the serving glasses at the thrift store, lol.

    1. It's a fun one to re-watch Tina! ;-) I make the *mistake* of hitting the thrift store by my grocery store too often on weekend mornings but I do uncover some fun finds like these little glasses.

  4. I LOVE boozy cherries. What a great recipe.

  5. Great minds. I love the addition of juniper berries. I never know how to use them. I plan on adding my fruit to some sangria soon and these would be perfect there too. P.S. I kind of liked Michelle's pj outfit but that pork pie hat left something to be desired. I coveted all of Cher's outfits including her overalls. :)

  6. I adore cherries and it os great to see so many this month. Although I am not sure I will ever look at a big bowl of cherries the same way again lol. Love these spiked and spiced cherries you made.

  7. I love your pretty little cups of cherries! So perfect for this movie!


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