2 cups unsweetened cherry juice
4 cups fresh sweet cherries, such as Bing (pitted)
1 cup dried tart cherries
1 cinnamon stick (3 inches long)
1 whole star anise pod
  Seeds from 3 cardamom pods (or 1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom)
3/4 cup Sugar
1/2 vanilla bean (split lengthwise)
2 tablespoons cherry-flavored liqueur or almond-flavored liqueur (such as amaretto, optional)