Northwest cherry season lasts from the first week of June through the end of August. Look for deep, mahogany-red Bing cherries, which are firm and juicy. Large Rainier cherries that are yellow with a red blush. And heart-shaped Sweetheart cherries, which are firm, with a mild sweet flavor.
The Beach Issue
1 cup dry white wine
¾ cup sugar
5 cups fresh cherries, stemmed and pitted
3 tablespoons cherry brandy, like kirschwasser
Juice of ½ lemon
Put wine and sugar in a large, heavy-bottomed saucepan and boil over high heat, stirring occasionally, until sugar dissolves, about 5 minutes. Add cherries and return to a boil. Reduce heat to medium and simmer, stirring occasionally, until cherries are soft, about 15 minutes.
Remove saucepan from heat and stir in cherry brandy and lemon juice. Transfer to a large bowl and set aside to let cool to room temperature, then cover and refrigerate until thoroughly chilled.
Working in batches, purée cherry mixture in a blender until mixture is flecked with bits of cherries. Strain through a sieve into a medium bowl, pressing on solids with the back of a wooden spoon. Discard solids.
Process cherry mixture in an ice cream maker according to manufacturer’s directions. Scoop into chilled glasses to serve.