Itâ€™s prime cherry season, and theyâ€™re as cheap as theyâ€™re going to get on the fruit stand by my apartment. And, truth be told, Iâ€™d wanted to make bourbon cherries for a while, ever since my friend Grace made me a Manhattan with cherry bourbon that her grandma had made for her in a jam jar.
â€œIâ€™m going to make Bourbon cherries,â€ I announced, feeling pretty adventurous and ground breaking.
â€œI made Bourbon cherries a few weeks ago,â€ said Hilary. â€œI made gin and vodka ones too just to experiment, but the bourbon ones were the best. Really good in drinks.â€ Since Hilary and her husband Jeremy own the drink cabinet equivalent of The Tardis, itâ€™s a Big Deal for something to get their cocktail making approbation.
I bought the cherries.
The idea couldnâ€™t be simpler; wash and pit the cherries, fill up a clean container Â¼ full with them, then top up with a smooth bourbon â€“ nothing too fancy, but something that you like to drink anyway. Put on a shelf for 3 weeks to a month, and give the jar a shake every time you walk past.
The question is one of perspective; are you making Bourbon Cherries – luscious and boozy â€“ perfect folded into cream and crushed meringue for an upscale Eton Mess, added to crumble, or spooned straight from the jar? Or are you making Cherry Bourbon for a ruby red Manhattan or equivalent?
You donâ€™t have to choose; you are making both, itâ€™s just something nice to think about.
My preference for making flavored spirits is to use jam jars â€“ a good size to give away as gifts (with a recipe card gift tag for a Manhattan, perhaps). Also, then, if I donâ€™t like the results, itâ€™s not a tragedy on an epic scale as it might be if I used the gallon Mason jar.Â Â Itâ€™s very liberating to know that you can experiment like this. The scale is small, but not so small that you get one shot and youâ€™re done. I recommend it.
Itâ€™s going to take a little patience, but just think how much youâ€™re going to appreciate the few minutes of prep when Autumn really gets going a month from now and you get to sit in and look out at all that mists and mellow fruitfulness business with a ruby red, cherry scented glass of bourbon in your hand.
Cherry Bourbon / Bourbon Cherries
If youâ€™re expecting a sweet liquor, this is not that. You can sweeten it, of course. About 2 Â½ weeks in, add some sugar (less in volume than cherries, about 1/8thÂ to keep with our jar proportions â€“ or more if you prefer).Â¼ jam jar / Mason jar of cherries Â¾ the same jar of bourbon Â
- Make sure the jar is really clean
- Pitt the cherries
- Combine the ingredients in the jar
- Screw on the lid, place in a cool dark place (kitchen shelf) and shake up a couple of times a day
- Leave for 3 â€“ 4 weeks
Now reward your patience and make aÂ Manhattan