It’s Presidents Day – the day when our nation honors all the dudes who led our country to greatness. But here at Booze for Babes, I like to honor the women who helped them get there, too, so read on! (If you want to know how the presidents got sloshed, read my latest from the Daily Beast).
George Washington loved his wife Martha’s Cherry Bounce— a homemade cherry liqueur the first president took on his journeys and also served to guests at his home. We know this because Martha recorded her recipe in a memo on her husband’s stationary.
But in the following recipe, we forgo using the fruit’s juice, as Martha did, and instead simmer and bottle whole cherries. We also add some 18th century American flair with the addition of cloves, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Feel free to substitute the brandy for other spirits like an aged rum or whiskey, but you may find that the one made from brandy is smoothest and sweetest. Cherries can be hard to find this time of year, so you can use frozen ones. Just make sure you thaw them first.
The bounce won’t be ready for three months, but it will give you something to look forward to when spring’s nice weather makes you want to shake up a drink and find a rocking chair on a porch.
6 cups whole cherries
1 quart cognac
2 cups cane sugar if using sour cherries; 1 cup sugar and 2 ounces fresh lemon juice if any other cherries
3 whole cloves
1 whole nutmeg, cracked in half
1 cinnamon stick
Combine the cherries, sugar, and spices (and lemon juice if necessary), in a saucepan and simmer over medium heat. Reduce heat to medium-low and continue to simmer for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove and let cool. Pull out the whole spices and pour the mixture into a large glass jar and add the brandy. Attach the lid, shake, and store in a cool, dark place for three months. Strain into a new, clean glass jar (or several smaller jars). Drink it within a month or so.