Happy Birthday George Washington and Cherry Bounce recipe

Cherry Bounce Recipe. A simple, homemade cordial recipe dating back to George Washington. So good it might make anyone chop down a cherry tree to make it! | BoulderLocavore.com

To honor the birthday of our first President, George Washington, I decided to make a batch of Cherry Bounce, a preserved liquor dating back to his days.  Notes in the diary of Martha Washington referenced a recipe for making a large batch of Cherry Bounce using 20 pounds of cherries, cognac, sugar, cinnamon, and nutmeg and crushed cherry stones (no wonder George wore wooden teeth).

Cherry Bounce (cordial) recipe  - BoulderLocavore.com

I came upon Cherry Bounce when considering how to celebrate a batch of tart pie cherries I picked at the first of the summer last year.  There never seem to be as many as you think after several hours of picking when you consider the split second they are in season and wanting to parcel them out over the entire year.

Cherry Bounce (cordial) recipe. Pouring bourbon into cherries and sugar - BoulderLocavore.com

Cherry Bounce is made with liquor (vodka, bourbon, rum, brandy or whiskey are all choices I’ve seen) sugar and pie cherries.  It’s mixed together in a jar, stirred or shaken daily and left to sit and develop the wonderful flavor of the final cordial.  I chose to make mine with bourbon, feeling cherries and bourbon are like twins separated at birth; they belong together.  The smell of Cherry Bounce is like a Manhattan; heavenly.  The flavor blends together over time to yield a not-overly-sweet-not-overly-boozy tasting drink reminding us of the deep Bourbon roots of our country’s South.

Cherry Bounce (cordial) recipe - BoulderLocavore.com

Cherry Bounce was often made and timed to be ready at Christmas time.  It’s delicious within a few weeks but better after a long aging. With some foresight and planning a batch of Cherry Bounce would make a perfect gift around the holidays (or to celebrate the presidents at this time of year too).  Make a master batch or smaller batches and plan for them to have at least 3 months to infuse.  A large batch can be divided between smaller, decorate bottles or in Mason jars (to which I’m partial).  It’s simple and affordable to make, but a more unique infusion.  Bourbon lovers and historians alike will appreciate a batch!  The boozy cherries are great on ice cream too.

Cherry Bounce

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Yield: 1 1/2 quarts

Though Cherry Bounce dates back to George Washington it is a cordial that is as welcome in current day. Three simple ingredients combine to sit making an irresistible cordial. It's delicious after a few weeks and more so after a few months which was the original method.


  • ½ quart Bourbon
  • 1 quart Tart/Pie Cherries (pitted if wanting to use the cherries too)
  • 1 ½ cups Sugar
  • Jar with lid


  1. Place cherries and sugar in the jar and mix.
  2. Add bourbon and stir together.
  3. Seal the jar. Place in a dark warm place. Stir daily until sugar is dissolved. Allow to sit for 3 months.

 Cherry Bounce (cordial) recipe - BoulderLocavore.com


  1. says

    What a way to celebrate George's bithday – I love it! I think I could get into a little batch of Cherry Bounce. Love your photo's too. Beautiful!

  2. Ed Hart says

    I use two cans of sweet cherries in juice not syrup and one pound of stringed rock candy
    along with two 5th. of American Blended Whiskey. Put everything in a one gallon glass jar. Put lid on loose, every two weeks stir with wooded spoon until rock candy has dissolved. You can use more or less rock candy depending on your taste. With this recipe it has a light sweetens but still has a bite to it. When done pour back into the original bottles along with some cherries. The balance of cherries goes into making fruit cake.

  3. robin says

    I use Bings (I think) they are good to eat out of hand anyway, so I don’t add any sugar. I’m planning to crush the pits next time. (Wish I could find frozen cherries with the pits, I wouldn’t have to wait until spring.)
    I never thought about it before but I do love a good Manhattan and I do love my cherry bounce.
    My dil said it tastes like chocolate.
    Just sayin.

  4. Sue G says

    Add the pits to the liquor, in fact save all your pits from pie making if you have a tree and add those too. The pits add more flavor.


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