Bourbon soaked cherries

You know what I love? Bourbon Old Fashioneds.

You know what I despise? Maraschino cherries.

Now, I don’t claim to understand exactly what a Maraschino cherry IS (I don’t think I want to know). But – I know what it DOES, and that is: makes me want to hurl. They are seriously so gross.

Homemade cocktail cherries, however – specifically, bourbon-soaked cherries – are amazing!!

I started making these a few years back, after my husband and I went out to a swanky bar in Portland (back when we had a life went to swanky bars in Portland) and had a delicious cocktail garnished with a house-infused bourbon cherry. I was hooked. I wanted them in everything.

So that brings me to the present day.

I was buying frozen fruit for the kids yesterday (my kids eat TONS of fruit and buying it fresh all the time gets expensive, so I often stock up on organic frozen berries for them to munch on) and saw a bag of cherries. Visions of bourbon-soaked cherries danced before my eyes.

So I grabbed the cherries, picked up a bottle of “OK” bourbon (don’t bother using the good stuff for making these cherries – it’s a waste. Save the good stuff for your actual cocktail) and got to work.

To make:

  • Take one pound fresh, pitted cherries (or if you’re busy like me, just buy frozen ones) and dump place them in mason jars. (I probably could have found a quart size jar that would fit all the cherries but I was also trying to make my kids dinner, so two pints it is).
Put the yummy cherries in jars – and tell your 3-year old daughter that no, these cherries are not for her, when she whines incessantly that she wants to eat them all.
  • Bring 1/2 cup water, 1/2 cup sugar and 1 teaspoon vanilla extract (I use organic Madagascar vanilla, it adds soooooo much flavor) to a simmer.
Simmer water + sugar, vanilla – it smells so good already! 
  • Remove sugar mixture from heat and slowly stir in one cup of decent (not good) bourbon.
One cup bourbon (that’s my son eating grilled cheese in the background) – he was intrigued by my “science experiment” as he called it.
  • Take the hot sugar/ bourbon mixture and pour over the cherries. (I always use this canning funnel as it makes it so much easier not to splash stuff everywhere.)

  • Voila! That’s basically it!

  • Now you just have to find some lids (since this is not actually canning, I didn’t bother using metal canning lids, I just popped some of my plastic refrigerator lids on). If you wanted, you could use metal canning lids and process in a bath canner to make them shelf stable.

  • Place the cherries in the fridge and let them soak for a few days before using so they can absorb all the delicious bourbon-ness (supposedly these will last several months in the fridge but mine never stick around long enough for me to test that theory):

Enjoy in all your favorite bourbon/whiskey cocktails. Cheers!!

5 thoughts on “Bourbon soaked cherries

  1. I’ve done this with both brandy and kirsch to make cherries specifically for black forest gateau and they’re fabulous! I’m going to have to try with bourbon now too! I do pit mine because I don’t need to break a tooth lol
    I’m not sure about canning these as I’m afraid it would kill off the alcohol and change the taste… I’m going to have to try it now as the dedicated scientist *ahem* that I am!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Anything in the name of science!! Yes, I use pitted as well, I just buy them already pitted because pitting cherries is the pits!! 😀 Let me know how yours turn out and if you discover any tips/tricks!


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