Cherry Bounce, Experiment #3

First off, this is not a recipe post. There are tons of recipes posts for cherry bounce (typically a cordial drink that goes back to America's colonial days). The fact is, I have never followed a cherry bounce recipe to a tee. I like my bounce more liqueur than cordial, which means I cut back the sugar. 

I started making cherry bounce two summers ago. It is a Wisconsin tradition (one that a dear friend clued me in on my first summer here). The first year, I cut the sugar back a little. Last year, I cut it back a little more. This year, I went a step further in my experimentation, dividing my bounces between bourbon or brandy, using a variety of light and dark cherries and organic cane sugar. I have absolutely no idea how they will turn out. I'll find out in December when I open them, but until then I just have to wait. That is why I can not give you the be-all-end all recipe. Instead, I can tell you what I did and hope you will be inspired to experiment with your own concoctions this summer. 

Each recipe starts the same: remove pits from cherries. Then I measures out the cherries. I only had quart jars and limited amounts of cherries, so I did 2 cups per each container. This year I picked up the dark-red cherries from Door County (the Wisconsin county known for their cherries), but also some Rainier cherries (also grown in Wisconsin). I decided to have one jar of the dark-red, one jar of Rainier, and then two jars with half of each. I added organic cane sugar to a couple and then brown sugar to the others. In one jar, I tossed in half of a leftover vanilla bean. The constant ingredient in all four: bourbon (1.5 cups each container). In previous years, I made bounce with brandy as well, but the truth is, I like the bourbon bounce I make better.

If you asked me my ratios I used last year, my answer would be, I don't remember. I am notoriously bad at writing down my experiments. This year I chose to use reusable labels listing each jar's ingredients. This is key when experimenting, and will help me remember which recipes I like best. 

Now I simply store the jars in a dark place until end of November / beginning of December. For the first month, I gently shake the jars to mix in the sugar, but after that I wait. Hopefully these batches will turn out well. Only time will tell. Again I hope this inspires you to create you own.