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DIY: You’ll be bouncing with Cherry Bounce!




I knew it was going to happen. Requests for my cherry bounce are coming in at a faster pace than last year. Well, truth be told, it’s not my recipe at all. It was a long time ago that I had my first taste of cherry bounce. It was at my friend Ann Rudloff’s home. Her Mom, Mary, made cherry bounce every year at this time when the dark sweet cherries hit the grocery stores and farmers’ markets. (She also propagated roses in a potato half but that’s another story….).  Mary made the cherry bounce as a medicinal “potion”. She told me it was good for anything that ails you.


Naturally, I couldn’t wait to make it. Mary’s recipe was sketchy – she just told me to put a pound of stemmed, but unseeded, dark cherries in a glass jar, add sticks or strings of crystal clear sugar rock candy, pour bourbon over it and then let it sit in a dark place for 4 months or so. During that time, the sugar dissolves from the strings/sticks so they can be removed.


Over the years, I’ve tweaked the recipe and I think the one I’m sharing today is the best so far.


Cherry bounce makes a lovely cordial and the cherries are delicious over ice cream. Be sure and let people know they have pits!


And since originally Mary used it medicinally, I will tell you if a cold comes on, or if you’re feeling under the weather, a sip or two or three works wonders. The cherries are chock full of antioxidants. The sugar and the bourbon, well, you all know the song about how a little bit of sugar makes the medicine go down. Add the word “bourbon” to that and you’ll know what I mean.


So what happens if you want to make the cherry bounce but can’t find rock candy? Just use granulated sugar.


I also found out that cherry bounce has a history that goes back to George Washington. He loved it so much that it was a staple item during his travels.

Ingredients for Cherry Bounce: Bourbon, cherries, sugar

Classic cherry bounce


If using string/stick candy, taste after a couple of days – it will dissolve and give you a good idea as to how sweet you want it to be. Do the same with the sugar.  Now what I just made has 6 pieces of stick rock crystal candy in it. I’ll taste it in a few days and add more from there.


1 pound dark cherries stemmed but not pitted

6-12 pieces of string rock crystal candy or up to 2 cups sugar. Here’s what the string/stick candy looks like at the store. I bought  mine at Eastgate Jungle Jims International Market.

Clear Rock Crystal Candy for Cherry Bounce


1 bottle bourbon whiskey


Put cherries in glass jar. Put string candy in or pour sugar and whiskey over.
Pouring the bourbon in

Put lid on. Shake each day until sugar dissolves. If using rock candy on strings or sticks, it will dissolve in a day or so. Remove strings/sticks.


Wait about 4-6 months before drinking. I keep mine in my pie safe. Great as a holiday gift. Be sure and put on the label that the cherries have pits.


Regarding the amount of bourbon for cherry bounce recipe: my bottle says 750 ml which I think is average for the big bottle of bourbon. What you need is enough bourbon to cover the cherries by a couple of inches.


Tips from Rita’s kitchen: 


  • ¥ What other alcohol works? I’ve been told that vodka keeps the cherry flavor true. Cognac or brandy creates the taste of sweet cherry wine and is sweeter than bourbon.
  • ¥ Pierce fruit for faster infusion: pierce each cherry with the tip of a knife in a couple of places.
  • ¥ Use other fruit: Make peach bounce with peeled and chopped peaches, use bourbon and add a handful of fresh ginger root, sliced. Use the same amount of sugar or string candy.







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