There is a moment every year when they stop being pie worthy. There is a sad moment when the fruit is over-ripe and the skin begins to toughen. It’s subtle. I can’t quite describe it, but I can see it when it happens. That’s when it’s time to put the pie pans away and make cocktail cherries and cherry pit bitters.
Here are the completed cocktail cherries embarking on a month of steeping, and the pits from 24 pies ready for their grain alcohol bath.