It’s cherry picking time at our ranch in Anderson Valley. To be honest, we usually don’t get to the cherries before the birds do, but low and behold this year is different. We arrived one Saturday morning to find one of our trees bursting with perfectly ripe cherries, not one of them bird nibbled. So, thank you Mr. Hawk or Ms. Scarecrow or whomever it was that scared the birds away this year. Now we get to have fun! First stop on the cherry train – Cherry Bounce!
Now, I’ve been slightly obsessed with Cherry Bounce for a couple of years….fantasizing about when I can try to make some myself. It’s a cherry liqueur. Don’t feel bad if you have no idea what it is, it’s not some new fangled thing, but rather a very old thing that I am personally trying to bring back. It goes back to at least the 1600’s in England and Martha Washington had a recipe for it in her papers (it was George’s favorite drink).
It’s a very simple recipe, keeps for ever and will make very nice holiday gifts come the winter….
3 cups of cherries (ours were sweet, but you can use sour)
3 cups of sugar (increase to 4 if using sour cherries)
5 cups of liquor (brandy is traditional, but vodka, run, or bourbon also work)
1 cinnamon stick (optional)
1 cloves (optional)
1 piece of whole nutmeg (optional)
Pit your cherries
Place them in a sealable container, I used a large mason jar, Use a potato masher to break them up as much as possible.
Add the sugar on top of the cherries.
Add the liquor. I made two batches, one with rum (because I had a few bottles sitting around that nobody every drinks) and one with bourbon (because I’m from the south).
Seal the container and give it a good shaking to mix everything up. Let it sit on a shelf out of the refrigerator for about 2 weeks, giving it a shake every few days to make sure the sugar dissolves.
Now decant your potion and pour it through a sieve to get out all the big chunks of cherries. The cherries are great to hold on to in the fridge or freezer for adult ice cream toppings. Pour the liquid through a coffee filter and into a clean container to get out the rest of the sediment. You should be left with a gorgeous ruby red liquid. Now you can stop there…or……
Take about two cups of the liquid and put into a sauce pan with the cinnamon stick, cloves and nutmeg. Bring to a simmer and let cook for 5 minutes. Pass the liquid back through the sieve and then add this liquid back into the larger jar. Yummy…..
I can barely wait for a cold winter day when I can put my feet up next to the fire and pour myself a gorgeous cordial of cherry bounce and think of George and Martha.