I've wanted to make my own cherry cordial for the longest time, so when it was time to get started on our 12 Days of Edible Gifts, I knew exactly what I'd be making. For those of you who aren't familiar with cherry bounce, it's nothing new. It's rather old, in fact — colonialists and pilgrims were known to drink it, and Martha Washington famously recorded her recipe for cherry bounce, which she served during the holidays and other special occasions.

This after-dinner libation, which is made by steeping cherries and sugar in brandy, rum, and sometimes whiskey, originated in the Northeast but has since spread across the country. Today, it can be found everywhere from the woodlands of rural Louisiana to Michigan cherry-growing country. With its spiced, black fruit notes, cherry bounce is a sweet after-dinner digestif — and an even lovelier handmade gift. Make it this holiday when you read more.

Cherry Bounce

Cherry Bounce


  1. 4 pounds frozen Bing cherries, thawed (you can also use fresh cherries when in season, and stone them)
  2. 2 cups sugar
  3. 1/4 teaspoon ground mace
  4. 1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
  5. 1 cup brandy
  6. 1 cup rum
  7. Special equipment: Fine sieve and/or cheesecloth


  1. Cook cherries in a double boiler until they are very soft.
  2. Strain the juice (I strained it twice, the first time with a sieve and the second time with some cheesecloth), and measure it. For each quart of juice add 2 cups sugar and 1/4 teaspoon each of ground mace and ground allspice.
  3. Simmer the mixture, skimming it frequently, until the scum ceases to rise.
  4. Cool the syrup and measure it. For each quart of syrup add 1 cup each of brandy and rum. Store the cordial in bottles. Serve the cherry bounce as an after-dinner liqueur.

Makes 6 cups.

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