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.
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.