Cocktail Hour: Cherry Bounce

My dear friend Eva has always wanted to taste Cherry Bounce, an infusion of dark, ripe cherries in bourbon.  Well Eva: this post is for you.

I had to commission my friend Mike in Cleveland to make the Bounce.  It involved fermeting things in jugs in dark cool places for months at a time. I live in a Tenement with two roommates. It’s not the ideal brewing environment.  Mike has a normal person house and is also an avid brewer.

Below is Mike’s account of Bounce creation; it will take about 3 months to infuse, so we’ll do a tasting around Christmastime.  The results will be a mystery until then!

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Cherry Bounce

Adapted by Mike from Directions for Cookery By Eliza Leslie
Philadelphia: E.L. Carey & Hart, 1840.

  • 1 lb of Sweet Cherries (I used Bing)
  • 1 lb of Sour Cherries (I grabbed what they had, Pie cherries don’t come so easy to the local mega mart)
  • ½ lb of Brown Sugar (It’s closer to the old refined sugar than white sugar, and I like molasses)
  • 1.135 L of Bourbon Whisky (I had a 750 bottle of Wild Turkey 101, we needed to add 385 mL of filtered Cleveland tap water to make volume.)

I weighed out the cherries with my digital scale; hand pitted them and crushed them into the jar one by one. My mortar and pestle was far too small for all those pits, so I put them in a sandwich bag and used my meat tenderizer to crack them open (Pro tip: If you pit and crush cherries by hand, don’t wear a white shirt and use an apron). I got about 70% of them well shattered and the rest should at least be cracked.

Cracking the pits.

I added 385ml of water from a filtered tap source.

I next weighed out 8 oz. of brown sugar and mixed it with the cherries.

I added the bottle of Wild Turkey, sealed the lid, and wiped down the outside of the jar.

The jar sits in my basement near my lagering fridge and will be agitated daily throughout August.

I expect to yield approximately 2 pints at 70° proof.

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Do you have a challenge for the blog?  A recipe you’ve always been curious about? A food you want to subject me to? A mystery to solve? Leave your requests in the comments on this post!

6 Responses to “Cocktail Hour: Cherry Bounce”


  • And I actually have two questions for Mike, or the general audience: What do you think adding the cracked pits does? More cherry flavor?

    And..will the end result be at a higher proof than the Wild Turkey? With all the sugar in there, is it fermenting, or just infusing with cherry flavor?

  • My impression is that the pits are important to provide a bitter counterpart to the sweetness of the sugar and the cherries. For example, when you make maraschino liqueur, which is made from a particular variety of sour cherries grown on the dalmatian coast, you use both the pits and the fruit.

  • I am actually making cherry bounce for Hale Farm and Village’s Civil War Weekend. My reciept did not call for the pits, and will have “brewed” for only the least time listed, 3 weeks before we open up.

  • Having made maraschino cherries from scratch to make Nesselrode Pudding, I can tell you that the flavor that they try to mimic with those day-glo red babies is the pit flavor. They put in almond extract, but that doesn’t really do it. Good maraschino liqueur has that nutty pit taste, very subtle. give it a try. I will tell you, after a few months the cherries are delicious but tough… and great on ice cream…that may be why they say only a few weeks in the jar.

    I think they could easily knock you on your *** but whether the resulting liquor has more alcohol than it began with, dunno>

  • This is not a fermentation. Yeast can’t live at the high alcohol content of the whisky. This is simply an infusion, just like flavor infused oils, or a nice cup of tea.

  • Oooo – I can’t wait to hear how this turns out. I only tasted Cherry Bounce once, in a version made with gin (I think). It’s definitely a powerful potable.

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