What Is Cherry Bounce?
Traditional Cherry Bounce appears to be the sweetened alcoholic liqueur infused with tart cherries. It takes around six months to make brandied cherries, so simultaneously, a quicker cherry bounce recipe existed for mixing brandy and cherry juice. According to the Routledge Dictionary of Historical Slang, the earliest known reference to Cherry Bounce comes from the 1693 Robertson’s Phraseologia Generalis. In Robertson’s Phraseologia Generalis (A Latin text on general English phrases), the drink is referred to as “Cherry-Bouncer” and only mentioned it as a mixed drink. The next mention of it comes from the George Washington family. A recipe for cherry bounce was found in a stack of Martha Washingtons’ papers written on George Washingtons’ watermarked stationery. The recipe was in neither George nor Martha’s handwriting, and it is unknown who wrote it. The recipe is as follows:
“To Make Excellent Cherry Bounce. Extract the juice of 20 pounds well ripend morrella cherrys Add to this 10 quarts of old french brandy and sweeten it with white sugar to your taste—To 5 Gallons of this mixture add one ounce of spice such as cinnamon, cloves and Nutmegs of each an Equal quantity slightly bruisd and a pint and half of cherry kirnels that have been gently broken in a mortar—After the liquor has fermented let it stand close-stoped for a month or six weeks then bottle it remembering to put a lump of Loaf Sugar into each bottle.”
During the 19th century, a few drinks and cookbooks mention cherry bounce but not many. Some books state to sweeten the cherry liqueur, and others say to mix cherry juice with spices and brandy. Not to say all recipes adhered to this structure, but the trend I noticed was cherry bounce recipes made from the cherry-infused liqueur only sweetened the liqueur, and recipes that called for mixing cherry juice, sugar, and brandy also added spices. I don’t know if there was a reason for that, but that was consistent. One of the best recipes for a cherry bounce comes from the 1892 Encyclopaedia of Practical Cookery. The author provides both an infused recipe and a cherry juice recipe that also sticks to the trend of only spicing the cherry juice. The recipe below is the cherry liqueur recipe from that book.
Does Cherry Bounce Need To Be Refrigerated?
It depends on which recipe you make whether cherry bounce needs to be refrigerated. Cherry bounce made with juice should be refrigerated. While it does have alcohol in it, it’s not enough to stop the growth of bacteria. If it’s the cherry infusion recipe, it does not need to be refrigerated while it soaks, so long as the cherries are fully submerged. Every old recipe I have found for a cherry bounce that uses the infusion method does not refrigerate them, but if you have a refrigerator, why not use it? Home refrigeration started becoming common in the 1930s, so while it wasn’t an option for many folks making cherry bounce in the 19th century, it is for you. And keeping it in the fridge takes the worry out of storing it. There is no downside to keeping it in the refrigerator.
Two Different Ways To Make Cherry Bounce.
This is the 6-month-long whole cherry infusion recipe for making cherry bounce. If you want the cherry juice recipe, you can find that one here.
I first heard of cherry bounce from a website saying it was George Washington’s favorite drink. After researching the drink a bit, I kept coming across two different ways of making the same drink. One recipe would add cherry juice to brandy, sugar, and spices; the other was to make brandied cherries and drink the sweetened liqueur. I was trying to decide which was the right way to make it. Still, after a bit of reading and checking my sources, I believe both ways are correct—the Encyclopaedia of Practical Cookery by Theodore Garrett list both methods as ways of making cherry bounce. The 7-volume Encyclopaedia of Practical Cookery is a very high-quality resource. It is such a well-written, thorough, and culinarily educated book that I will take it for its word.
I get the impression the liqueur version is the older of the two and was invented out of a desire not to waste the boozy juice left over from preserving cherries. The juicing method was developed as a quick way to make the drink without waiting six months and make a more drinkable version of it. If you want to compare the two, the one made with cherry juice is fruiter and much easier to drink. The infused version is more like a cherry old-fashioned.
- 1843 The Southern Planter Volume 3
- 1892 The Encyclopaedia of Practical Cookery – Garrett
- 1895 Modern American Drinks – Kappeler
- Almanac.com Cherry Bounce Article
- 2003 The Routledge Dictionary of Historical Slang – Partridge