Drink Week, Day Two: Cherry Bounce and Other Boozy Infusions

June 28, 2011(updated on January 23, 2023)

a pound of cherries and a cup of sugar

It’s day two of Drink Week! Today we’re talking boozy infusions (though I’m only scratching the surface of a very deep topic). These all would go well with a splash seltzer, so make sure to click over and enter the Sodastream giveaway. Make sure to check out the day one Drink Week post, Black Raspberry Syrup, too.

The inspiration to make Cherry Bounce came entirely from this blog post over on The Runaway Spoon. When I saw this one pop in my reader, I believe I said the words “oh yes” out loud. And when I picked up a mixed flat of cherries last weekend (half sweet and half sour), I knew that a pound of those sweeties were heading for a jar of this.

sugared cherries

The process is incredibly easy (and is nearly identical to most of the fruit-infused booze I’ve made). Get a large jar squeaky clean (the half gallon Ball jars are perfect for this). Add some fruit (in this case, a pound). Top with a cup of sugar and some form of bourbon (I used five cups of Maker’s Mark*). This bounce should be reaching maximum deliciousness right around Christmas.

Other infusions use vodka or everclear (around these parts, we have to drive to New Jersey to buy our everclear), and wait to add the sugar until after the fruit has infused. But still, it really couldn’t be a simpler process to make your own fruity booze.

booze and cherries

When it comes to infused spirits, you don’t have to stick strictly to fruit either. All manner of herbs, vegetables and even bacon (yes, bacon) are fair game.

In addition to the cherry bounce, here are some other infusions I’ve either currently got steeping in my front hall closet or I’ve been meaning to try.


I had Deena’s strawberry liqueur once when I was out in Portland, and wow, is it ever good stuff! I brought home a small amount and my sister nicknamed it Jam-Boozy on the spot. (Someone needs to market a product line with that name.) Because of that, I had no doubt that her Rhubarb Liqueur instructions would also be spot-on. I just recently strained mine and added the simple syrup. Now begins the waiting. Check out the rest of her “boozy” category for more good infusions.

and stir

I’ve also got a batch of Heather’s Limoncello cranking away in same said closet. I followed this particular recipe in large part because I was entirely smitten by the line “a cup of honey for that sensuous fuzzy bee flavor.” If you’re not reading Voodoo and Sauce, you’re missing out all sorts of lovely bits of language like that.

Audra of Doris and Jilly Cooks is another one of my infused spirit mentors. Though she hasn’t really posted about it, she has hinted her plum liqueur in this post. I plan to follow suit as soon as the plums are ripe.

Sean of Punk Domestic fame is a known booze-infuser. He had a guest post on David Lebovitz’s blog recently, about strawberry-infused vodka. Mmm.

What boozy infusions do you all like to make? Do you currently have anything steeping away in front hall closet (or basement, garage or guest bathroom?)

Don’t forget that I’m giving away a Sodastream as part of my week of homemade syrups, shrubs and infusions. Make sure to click over and leave a comment to enter the giveaway (one entry per person, please).

*For those of you who are curious, Maker’s Mark is a whisky bourbon. All bourbons are whiskys, but not all whiskys are bourbons.

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58 thoughts on "Drink Week, Day Two: Cherry Bounce and Other Boozy Infusions"

  • I make apple brandy with inexpensive Christian Brothers brandy and any tiny apples I pick in the fall. The brandy is incredibly delicious and the apples then get chopped up and used in a winter chutney. Double yum.

  • I have a whole shelf devoted to my boozy creations. I can’t drink them fast enough, it seems! Love the Bounce! (And I also love that wood slice tray…)

  • last year i did vodkas- i shared them with my mom’s book club and this year I have roughly 10 requests for “that booze with the berries” from said group of senior citizens! so this weekend if i can get some strawberries there will be strawberry booze started and cherries are steeping as i type…

  • Ooh, I love making infused booze. I’ve tried many infused vodkas like pepper (Serrano), different berries, watermelon, orange (for triple sec). And Meyer limoncello. I can cherries with rum. And now I’ll have to try this cherry bounce! Thanks for sharing this recipe!

  • That cherry bounce looks yummy! Yet another reason I need to move away from AZ and somewhere where I can grow cherries again!
    I made both limoncello and arancello this year. They have been filtered but are just “aging” now. Hopefully by the end of July, I’ll be able to make a nice post about the arancello (my preferred of the two). I’ll really look forward to trying some new things with citrus next year to give away as gifts.

  • Lemon Balm and Lavender–steeped in half-everclear and half-water for a month or so, combined with simple syrup…best and loveliest-tasting sleeping potion EVER.

    I made some cherry liqueur in everclear a couple of years ago, but it tasted like cough syrup. I bet the bourbon would be better, though…

  • Can I tell you how much mileage I’ve gotten out of the phrase ‘jamboozy’? I can’t stop saying it. I want to make cherry bounce just so I can start saying that too.

    My latest spreading of the boozy gospel came at a wedding this past weekend — the bar was serving a raspberry basil collins cocktail, complete with cucumber garnish, just like mine. Turns out the bride had given them my blog. Ha!

  • I made both limoncello and orange liqueur this winter, and now both are ready to drink. I love to mix ice-cold limoncello with a little bit of club soda; maybe that soda stream would come in handy!
    After seeing your cherry bounce pictures on flickr yesterday, I combined a few of my last black cherries with sugar and bourbon. Thanks for the inspiration!

  • I made limoncello last year as I had a ton of lemons and was trying to figure 1001 ways to use them up!

    I am not a drinker per say and noticed in your picture that the bottle says whiskey. Is that the same as bourbon? (I know, I am showing my ignorance here)

  • Last year I made cherry bourbon, cinnamon vodka, citrus vodka (just used the peels!) and the year before it was ginger- cardamom which tasted a bit like gin. This year: blood orange vodka, almond liqueur, strawberry and whatever else I have extras of!!

      1. I wouldn’t increase the sugar, at least in the beginning stage. You could always taste it after a while of infusing and see if you think it needs a bit more sugar.

    1. Traditional Bounce recipes round the Northwest Ohio parts is 1 pnd sour cherries, 1 pnd rock candy and a fifth of bourbon (although we like it best with vodka). If you head into a candy shop around the start of July and buy rock candy, they’ll ask you outright if you’re making bounce!

  • I so hope you enjoy the bounce! The hardest part of making it is waiting to drink it! Over the weekend, I brewed up a blackberry shrub for fresh, fruity cocktails, and this year’s invention was a honeysuckle cordial. Love infusing syrups and booze!

  • I, too, have to drive to New Jersey to get my Everclear! I’ll have to choose one of the substitutes to make this up!

  • I would love for someone to post (or tell me about it if it is already done) a bunch of homemeade booze recipes in one place so i don’t have to wonder “Now, where did I see that?”

    I would love to know how to do more with a Soda stream than just the additives they sell to make pop. It looks like a great addition to a kitchen.

  • Marisa! You do so drive me …. where? well a little bit insane! Your posts so inspire me to get back into the kitchen…. now a little question? Can you “can” cordials? An old friend of mine sent me his old ball canning booklet and in it is a recipe for a cordial, however, it has no booze. What comes to my mind is one of the Anne of Green Gables Movies where her friend (forget my name) drinks up a whole bottle of a cordial and gets very drunk. I do realize that you do not need to can them, but wondering if it might be worth it? Would the hot water bath do anything to the booze, do you think? Crazy? Maybe! Its Sally in Seattle.

  • I make all kinds of infusions, Green Apple Brandy, Black Cherry, Apricot, Nectarine, Peach but the favorite so far is Gingerbread Creme. Oh in hot coffee it is heaven.

  • Last summer I made blackberry vodka, strawberry vodka, and vanilla vodka. I am considering vanilla tequila and basil vodka this summer.

  • This seems like such a great project, I will definitely look into do more infused drinks! Thanks for sharing!

  • Yum! I must make some of that. Bourbon is wonderful. Hopefully it will turn out better than the icky strawberry vodka I made once.

  • Yum. That looks lovely. I’ve got to get to the liquor store to see whats free/cheap after rebate and get working on some of these….I heard cherries are 4.99/lb at the u-pick though.

  • I have a jar of cranberry vodka steeping away in my cupboard……found bags fo fresh cranberries on sale for 10 cents one day and couldn’t pass them up! Made a bunch of wonderful varieties of preserves with some, some cranberry vodka, cranberry salsa, etc………and still have about 10 bags in the freezer!

  • This sounds wonderful but I do have questions. What do you do with the cherries once the infusion has sat for a while? Do you eat the cherries? I’m not a huge fan of whisky/burbon. Has anyone tried this with Everclear or Vodka? Also, is this something you would put in a mixed drink or do you drink it by itself? I love this idea and now know what I will be doing for Christmas gifts this year – Cherry Bounce and Limoncello. Yum!

    1. We save the cherries and garnish drinks with them or occasionally pop a few for a boozy punch. You can definitely drink it straight – just keep in mind it’s basically straight booze made worse by the camouflaged sweetness. It’s also excellent mixed up.

  • mmmm – crabapple vodka… lots of crabapples (I like to cut mine in half), a little sugar, fill jar with vodka. Steep for a 2-4 weeks, and turn over every day or two.


  • Another great use for canning jars!! I have never made infused drinks before. After the day I had today, I think I’m going to start.

  • I’ve always wanted to make homemade drinks since I read Anne of Green Gables, but I have yet to do so. Thanks for the inspiration!

  • Heck yeah! I’m infusing & aging three kinds of schnapps–plum, spearmint, and lemon balm–as we speak, and have plenty of vodka left over for further experiments in the near to immediate future.

  • I made something similar today! (The recipe I followed called for brown sugar instead) The recipe also said to leave the pit in the cherries, is there a reason for this? I would think that it would be more practical to pit the cherries before infusing because who wants to have to worry about the pit when they are making a drink?

  • I made creme de cassis last year with vodka and black currants sweetened to taste with a sugar syrup. I also made a cherry bounce, plum brandy and rum plums. I used the strained out fruit in baking that worked out really well. I made a dense kind of fruit cake with the currants and cherries and some other dried fruit I had. I also made Tigress’s yogurt cake with rum plums in it. It was awesome! And I made some cookies (like a Lizzie). I called them Drunken Lizards. I tried drying the drunken fruit for later use, but it was tough and not much flavor. Baking with it is the way to go!

  • I did not know you were supposed to keep the bounce unrefrigerated! I have a large glass jar full of berry/ cherry bounce (I’ve been waiting to treat my siblings to it during a reunion this summer) but it has been in my fridge for a year. Should I leave it out now to ferment better? Also, it tastes quite a bit like cough syrup. Should I add more fruit or more sugar to change the taste of it? We usually serve it over vanilla ice cream. Thank you for any expert advice on this!

  • I made a fun infusion last year. I took two large mason jars, put chunks of strawberries and rhubarb in each, then filled them with the least expensive vodka I could find. The jars sat in the fridge for about two weeks, then I strained off the vodka. The infused vodka was awesome, and had lost nearly all the slightly weird flavour it had before. I discovered by trying some of the fruit, whatever those flavours were caused by ended up in the fruit.

    This goes really nicely in an icy-cold glass of lemonade!

  • Has anyone tried making jam with the strained out fruits? I just strained my strawberry and rhubarb vodka and tried making a pie with the still somewhat flavorful fruit. It turned out a little too vodka-y though. I’m wondering if jamming it would cook off more of the alcohol taste and be worth doing. Has anyone tried this??

  • I’ve been making cordials (boozy infusions) for nearly 30 years! These make fabulous gifts, are refreshing to mix in lemonade, seltzer or mineral water in the summer months. I belong to a local garden club/herb society and have shared a number of ideas for adding herbs to your fruits, nuts and vegetables for tasty beverages. Looking forward to seeing your other boozy infusions in the coming days.

  • Just cracked into my jars of Cherry Bounce this month. I also threw in a cinnamon stick and a couple of cloves. It’s delicious…I keep pouring a little over ice for my evening drink! I made it with local sour cherries this year, added a little extra sugar to make up the difference.

  • I would love to try this, but I have a few questions. After I mix the cherries with the burbon do I have to refrigerate it? Then I strain … Do I refrigerate then. How long can I keep it in the fridge or out of the fridge. Any help would be wonderful!

    Happy Holidays!

  • Marissa,
    Thank you for the ideas on preserved cherries. I made them with the Maker’s Mark and after two months, they are delicious! So simple too. I found these great canning jars from Italy that lend an air of elegance to the presentation. Canning is one of my “things” and now I will always make the cherries with bourbon instead of brandy!

  • ok i am really experimenting, i am making one with yellow pear tomatoes, jalapenos, cilantro, and red tomato 1/4’s (to get them in the jar) with vodka….and another with red tomatoes (1/4ed) and basil….do i need to refrigerate this?

  • I just put up a mason jar of this and I’m going to do another next week while cherries are inexpensive. I’m considering three – because I gave a bottle of it to my stepdad last Christmas, and a few days later I got the following series of text messages:

    “What proof is this?”
    “…When can you make some more????”

  • Hmmm, think I messed up. I put a bunch of cherries in a jar with vanilla vodka and put it in the basement. Only thing I forgot was the sugar. Did I just totally waste a bottle of vodka and a bunch of cherries? thanks!

  • Did you pit the cherries? I’m planning to try this with cherry rum…. it looks yummy and will be perfect for Christmas.

  • @Robin – Did you mess up? NOT AT ALL!!! When I do infusions, I like to add the sugar/simple syrup at the end. This way there is nothing to interfere with the Alcohol doing its job with the ingredients.

    Everclear – Ah, fine spirit. I too have to hop the bridge to Jersey to get some. However, I found something even better! It too is available in NJ, but it’s about $10 less for a 1.75 and its 160 proof (still flamable though). It’s called Devil Springs vodka. Its not to be done in shots, but for doing infusions that you will be “watering down” later, its great.

    I will have to try some Cherry Bounce. I prever Fighting Cock rum over Maker’s Mark (half the price and a much better taste, IMO). The space under my sink doesn’t have cleaning supplies, it has all sorts of infusions!

  • I’ve made plum bounce successfully for a couple years, but a lesson learned from experimentation last year was that it might better to pit sour cherries first. My batch last year became too bitter for my liking, despite the sugar! I know there’s also the cherry pit safety debate… but I think in this case it’s more about the flavor.

  • I have questions. The boozy bourbon with cherries: when serving, do you strain it, or serve with the cherries in the glass?

  • Grampa made this for years. Traverse City Michigan Cherry capital of the world. From his cherry farm to you. Any size jar that seals. Recipe: layer of cherries, layer of sugar cubes, layer of cherries, repeat until jar is full. Fill the void space with Vodka. Turn the jar over on it’s top once a day for 7 days, once a week for 7 weeks. Strain and drink or bottle. Gramma always said don’t eat the cherries unless you want to be very drunk. We never pitted them just washed really well and discard any that weren’t pretty

  • So.. for infused cherry everclear, I potted cherries and covered with Everclear. When do I add sugar? And do I store in dark place or in fridge?

    1. I typically strain the cherries out of the booze after 3-4 weeks and then add the sugar. Then just keep in a dark place.