Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Ch ch ch ch ch ch Cherry Bounce — Part 1

When life hands you a bowl of cherries, you could blog about it until you exhaust every cherry metaphor out there. You could eat them all, or make pie. Or, you could make Cherry Bounce.

Cherry bounce is the oldest drink in the United States. Martha Washington made this stuff, people. It's a vintage vintage, if you will.

I first heard of cherry bounce after reading The Outlander series by Diana Gabaldon. At one point in the series, (spoiler alert!) the characters end up in the U.S. colonies pre-Constitution. Cherry bounce, according to the book, was made in a keg with cherries, sugar and grain liquor.

Then a friend of mine mentioned that her sweet cherry tree was already producing fruit, keeping with the trend this year of every plant being a month ahead of schedule. So, I decided to look up cherry bounce.

I found a recipe at Beekman 1802. The Beekman boys are all-natural folks, and seemed knowledgeable enough on the subject. I only needed the ingredients of old -- the cherries, sugar, and some grain liquor. I also decided to add star anise.

So, I took my cherries -- four quarts, unpitted -- and divided them among four large sterilized Mason jars. Then I funneled in about 1 to 1 1/2 cups sugar in each one.

Then I put the lids on each one, dated them, and put them in the basement to wait.

I have to admit -- not having to pit the cherries? Best part about this deal so far.

About two and a half weeks later, I noticed a syrup around the cherries.

I brought them upstairs, and broke out two 750 mL bottles of Jim Beam. As soon as I uncapped the jars, each one began to fizz! Weird!! It freaked us out. :)

After we stopped being mesmerized by the fizzing, I measured out about 300 mL of bourbon and poured it into the first jar. It came all the way to an inch below the edge of the jar, and I decided that was about right, even though I still had a little bourbon in the measuring cup. I poured bourbon to this level in each jar.

Now, as I was pouring, I noticed there was still sugar in the bottom of each jar. I'm going to pretend that is not an issue. I shook up two of the jars, but the sugar settled. Whatever.

I'm so glad I left dishes in the sink before I did this. It really makes the photo, don't you think? :)

Finally, I wiped down the lids and edges of the jar, and re-capped the bottles. I dated the lid, and then set them downstairs in the darker part of the basement again. We'll see how it goes. As of right now, about two weeks later, it's looking deliciously red... mmmm!

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