DOOR COUNTY SOUR CHERRIES 2011 : CHERRY BOUNCE

RYE WHISKEY CHERRY BOUNCE

The beginning of August in Door County Wisconsin is sour cherry season. Time to snatch up the cherries while they last. But what does one do with all those cherries once you have picked them??

8 Gallon Cherry Harvest

I have a few suggestions that I recently explored after my 2011 cherry harvest:  Cherry syrup, cocktail cherries, cherry butter…and cherry bounce. You can also freeze them for later use in cherry pies and cobblers or other recipes.

Here we are going to talk about making cherry bounce.  There are many cherry bounce recipes that you can find online by googling. One tactic I use when looking for a recipe online that I have never tried, is to look at as many as I can and then filter out the nonsense or oddballs that make no sense. This is like a quick statistical approach by using your own experience, knowledge, and common sense. You can find cherry bounce recipes that call for cheap whiskey or brandy or vodka. But then you have to ask yourself what it is you are trying to do.
Macerating Cherries
Cherry Bounce is something that one makes in August and is aged and ready for the holidays. It is great as a gift and as a special drink for guests. So it is worth using a quality spirit. It doesn’t have to be outrageously expensive, nor should it be. But it shouldn’t be rotgut, either.
The next step is to ask what spirit you want to use and why. Vodka would be great for a neutral, all cherry flavored infusion. Use a higher proof Vodka, since it will have the addition of cherry juice and sugar. This really ends up being a nice, high proof sour cherry liqueur.
I consider American Whiskey (Bourbon or Rye) the best for infusions like these. Bourbon and fruit are made for each other. Cognac and aged brandies are also phenomenal with fruit and cherries  You could also use a high proof vodka or a cherry eau de vie for a more neutral and all cherry experience as well.
Cherries brought to simmer
I used Templeton Rye Whiskey (Templeton) and Pierre Ferrand Ambre Cognac (Cognac Ferrand, Ambre) this year for 2 different versions.
The Rye generally has a drier, spicier flavor and aroma than bourbon, but bourbon is excellent in a Bounce. The brandy or Cognac is a Wisconsin favorite, and the fruity vanillas and almonds is a natural for cherries, especially Wisconsin cherries.
The flavors and tastes we will be deriving here are the Rye whiskey or Cognac and what they bring, the sour nature of the cherries, the distinctive sour cherry aromas and flavors, and the sweetness of some cane sugar.
4 cups of fresh unpitted sour cherries
2 cups of cane sugar
In a non reactive bowl add cherries and sugar and allow to macerate for about 30 minutes. Stir occasionally.
After 30 minutes add this to a sauce pan and heat until just a simmer, always gently stirring or turning the cherries and the sugar has completely dissolved. Allow to cool.
In the jars!
Add this to 750 ml Templeton Rye or Pierre Ferrand Ambre Cognac, in a large non reactive jar of about 3 quarts or into 3 quart glass jars. Mason/Ball jars work great.
Put the jars in a cool, place, with no direct sunlight…A cellar or pantry would be ideal. Once a week do a turn of the jars to mix up the contents. This will be ready on Thanksgiving Day. Really it can be ready earlier, but that is a great way to remember and to have a goal for the holidays.

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