Southern Snacks Cookbook

The Southern Sympathy Cookbook

I'm P.C., and I have studied food and cooking around the world, mostly by eating, but also through serious study. Coursework at Le Cordon Bleu London and intensive courses in Morocco, Thailand and France have broadened my culinary skill and palate. But my kitchen of choice is at home, cooking like most people, experimenting with unique but practical ideas.

I live, mostly in my kitchen, in my hometown of Memphis, Tennessee.

Cherry Bounce

Cherry Bounce in Progress

Cherry season is beginning, or at least fresh cherries are showing up in the markets here.  We don’t grow cherries locally, so when I start to see them at the grocery, I buy them up.  I love cherries, so I try to make the season last as long as possible.  I bake with the beauties, make preserves, and frankly, just leave a basket on the counter and eat them throughout the day.  But a classic Southern way to preserve them is in Cherry Bounce, which is worth making for the name alone.

This is not an immediate results recipe.  It requires a little patience, but very little work.  Start your Cherry Bounce now, while the cherries are fresh and gorgeous, and by the holidays, you’ll have a special treat.  Decant the liquor into decorative bottles for gifts, or serve small glasses after a Thanksgiving dinner or with a Christmas cheese plate. And Cherry Bounce makes a mean Manhattan.  If you make fruitcake and soak it in brandy, try Cherry Bounce instead for a real treat.

Cherry Bounce

Use a bourbon you would happily drink, but not a top of the line, very expensive bottle.  You can increase this recipe as much as you’d like.

1 pound fresh red cherries (such as Bing)

1 cup sugar

5 cups bourbon

Run a large jar or glass airtight container through the dishwasher to sterilize.  Wash the cherries well and remove the stems. Discard any bruised fruit.  Layer the cherries and the sugar in the jar and leave to sit for about an hour.  Pour over the bourbon, seal the jar and shake occasionally to help dissolve the sugar.  Some cherries will float in the beginning, but they will sink to the bottom. When the sugar is dissolved, leave the jar in a cool dark place for at least 4 months to infuse.

When ready to use, you can simply pour out what you need of the liquor, or you can strain out the cherries and decant the bounce into decorative bottles.  The cherries are edible, but still have pits.  You can eat, them, use them to garnish a cocktail or spoon some bounce and cherries over ice cream for a boozy dessert, just remind those you serve it to about the pits.


38 comments to Cherry Bounce

  • I will definitely be making a large jar of Cherry Bounce this weekend, thank you!

  • Paige

    Last time I made these I pitted some and left some whole; the pitted ones are good for eating, while the stemmed ones are nice in drinks.

  • That sounds really good. Is there any reason not to pit the cherries before making this?

  • Really, its just easier not to pit. I made a small batch once with no pits, and I thought the cherries got a little mushy. But see the comment here from Paige.

  • This is ridiculous in the most fantastic way possible. Have you ever tried this without the sugar? Just curious how that would work out.

  • The sugar helps bring out the juices in the cherries and mellows the whole brew. I’ve never made it without sugar, but I suppose you could reduce the amount. I tend to think it might be a little one dimensional without the sugar.

  • so excited to make this. Posted to FB and Twitter too!

  • […] inspiration to make Cherry Bounce came entirely from this blog post over on The Runaway Spoon. When I say this one pop in my reader, I believe I said the words […]

  • debby

    would the flavors go well with sour cherries? and do you think vodka would work instead of bourbon? thanks!

  • Bourbon adds a depth and richness to the brew. Cherry vodka would be lovely, but not have the complexity. And I don’t know about sour cherries…I’ve never tried! Sorry!

  • I made something similiar to this 2 weeks ago (1/4 cup brown sugar, 3 cups bourbon, 1 cup fresh cherries sealed up in a Mason jar) and I’m thinking after my week, I need to start making drinks with it tonight! Yours looks great!

  • Molly

    Have only made this with sour cherries! Make it, shake it, don’t touch it til Thanksgiving! One year I added a vanilla bean. I should have just used a small piece! Not to repeat!
    Made a double batch this year in a gallon jar…with pitted cherries. Have never eaten the cherries before…always pitch em.
    Our cherry guy says it is way better with vodka. Also said to use only 100 proof. Never have…still here today to talk about it. The Manhattans from it? Made me a Manhattan drinker!

  • My friend Ada of “Of Woods and Words” made some of your Cherry Bounce recently and linked to your site! So glad she did! Not only am I excited to try this recipe, but I’m so happy to have discovered your blog. Off to browse around…

    Jenn/Rook No. 17

  • Culinary Adventures with Camilla

    Saw you featured on Rook No. 17’s A Little Birdie Told Me…this week. And so glad she did. I am going to get myself some bourbon and have this ready for Christmas!

  • Stephanie

    Since I missed fresh cherry season, would this work with thawed frozen cherries do you think? It sounds very similar to Portugese ginghina, which is fantastic 🙂

  • I worry that the texture of frozen, pitted cherries would be a problem. i think they would break down in the long soaking process. And yes, it is a little bit like ginghina.

  • […] it to be wild cherry, and warned us the leaves are poisonous. We were then given the recipe for Cherry Bounce, which he has heard is a very good drink. He learned about it when they lived in Louisiana. He said […]

  • […] Recipe adapted from The Runaway Spoon […]

  • […] says that my grandparents would make bounce each Christmas and drink it the next year — but some bloggers say it tastes good after about three weeks. Tags : alcohol cherry cherry bounce do it yourself […]

  • […] good toast for turkey sandwiches, folks). I celebrated my birthday with a glass of P.C.’s bourbon Cherry Bounce from the same blog and can’t wait for cherry season to make a much bigger batch for next […]

  • I made this twice! Bourbon + sweet cherries (results were okay, I guess.. I forgot I don’t really like bourbon), and vodka + sour cherries. OMG I’m in love with the vodka/sour cherry version. I can’t wait to make more when the sour cherries are in season.

    I’ve been mixing it with Meyer lemon juice and sparkling water and it’s gorgeous. I’m going to have to try to find some other drink suggestions. Thanks for posting this recipe!

  • […] Recipe adapted from The Runaway Spoon […]

  • I found this via Food In Jars, but I have a question… I found a recipe on another site for brandied cherries and it was canned. What is the difference between the actual canned brandied cherries and yours? They blanched the cherries first. Here is the link: I’m definitely trying yours, sounds amazing!

  • From what I can tell, that recipe is more about the cherries than the infusion. Cherry Bounce is all about the bourbon, the cherries are just a bonus. With as much alcohol as there is in Cherry Bounce, it doesn’t need to be canned.

  • […] and adding my own touches and flavors.  Lots of ginger, no nuts.  And I feed my cake with Cherry Bounce, the cherry-infused bourbon I put up when the fruit is in season, just for this purpose.  In […]

  • Matt

    Having grown up in an area of the country where cherries are a popular seasonal crop, cherry bounce is a family favorite. My parents once made a batch with gin, and it wasn’t horrible!

  • Melissa

    Hello, with cherry season approaching I would like to preserve some cherries in alcohol but as I have never done this before I am a little worried since I cannot find a consistent recipe online. Some say to consume in a few months and strain the cherries, some boil the cherries, some store them in the fridge, some add a tablespoon of liquor (amaretto sounded good) to a simple syrup. Are they all correct, except perhaps the ones that say to strain & keep in the fridge?

  • Melissa – This is the way I have been doing it for years and it always works for me.

  • Melissa

    Well I put it all together. Not the precise amount (more cherries, unknown sugar, less bourbon – to fill the jar) since the ratio doesn’t seem to matter. I only hope the slightly less than perfect cherries were ok to use.

  • […] the old-fashioned method, leaving  cherries and broken pits in for several months, see the blog The Runaway Spoon for some good […]

  • Just bought a qt of tart cherries in Door Cnty Wi, pitted them, made 1/2 into a cherry sauce and layered 2 jars of pitted cherries & sugar, then poured bourbon to the top of each. Will store to at least Thanksgiving to sample. My Dad made Cherry Bounce every year this way (since 1960s) – always wonderful.

  • Pam KZ

    My uncle had this at last year’s family Christmas. It was great! I’m curious if the concoction needs to be water bath canned or can it simply sit in the canning jars with the lid on?

  • No need to can, just keep in a cool, dark place.

  • […] half gallon of cherry bounce 6 half pints of cherry lime jam (using Pomona’s pectin) 6 half pints of “holiday […]

  • Teri C

    I used 3-lbs of cherries, 3 cups of sugar and a 5th of 101 proof Wild Turkey. I let it sit 4 years before I opened it (I actually forgot it was in the bottom of the pantry) and it was smooth as silk. That was 20 years ago and I still have some left mainly because I always forget to bring it out at Christmas.

  • Rose P

    I’m from New Orleans, Louisiana. When I was young, my Dad use to made cherry bounce every year, in large wooden barrels, he had his own cherry trees. It was the favor drink of my large family. My Dad is long gone now, I found his hand written recipe, but it didn’t have all the information; like how much to use, and what kind of cherry, I needed to make it. Thank you for the recipe, I plan on getting some made soon, since I never tasted it, but heard about it most of my life.

  • I love family food traditions! I hope this makes some more great memories!

  • Duncan

    I’m from New Orleans also…Mom use to make it every year. Sometimes, we would be riding in car in Gentilly and she would see a wild cherry tree(peas size cherries and dark black) and told me to knock on the people’s door and ask if I could pick some. Some would let me. Then we got our own tree and every year hoped the buds would not be blown off by the last cool front before spring and birds would not eat fruit. When I was little and had upset stomach, Mom would let me sip Cherry Bounce and it would settle it down. Mom passed i 2005 and tree gone same year Katrina. I make every year now and toast Mom

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