Get Up And Do The Cherry Bounce

About a month ago I decided to make this legendary Raleigh drink, Cherry Bounce, and this weekend was the official tasting at a party I organized. The words Cherry Bounce pop up here and there around Raleigh but the actual drink, rumored to have played a role in the choosing of the North Carolina capital’s location, is not served anywhere to my knowledge. Yes, Deep South can make it for you on the spot but this is a drink that needs to be made before hand so I don’t count it.

I’ll be honest, I did little research on the recipe but discovered the following and just went with it:

– 4 parts cherries
– 2 parts sugar
– 1 part whiskey
– Let it sit for six weeks

The cherries and sugar are easy but the whiskey is wide open. Since there are many types of whiskey out there, I made three different batches of CB for the tasting party. I asked a bartender friend for some help here and needed three different types to use. Jameson, Crown Royal, and Jim Beam were the final candidates. I had to use frozen cherries since fresh ones are not available right now and I went with brown sugar to close things out.

Making the CB was pretty easy. All three pieces were thrown together, stirred, and kept in separate pitchers for serving later. I did add a little water to the sugar beforehand so that it was more of a paste rather then pure sand.

After five or six weeks of sitting in my kitchen, the CB was ready to be strained. I used a huge cheese cloth and poured the entire pitcher inside a bowl wrapped with the cloth. Most of the drink comes out easily but you can get a few more ounces if you squeeze the cherries while inside the cloth.

During the party, there were mixed reactions towards the CB. Each batch was served blind and no one knew what whiskey was in each sample. It had also been sitting out for six weeks so the drink was at room temperature; no ice was added. The Crown and Beam batches were the most popular. Whiskey fans leaned more toward Beam while others preferred Crown. These two had pretty opposite tastes while the Jameson batch was more down the middle.

Overall, the drink was good, but not great. Fortunately, I still have some of each batch left. I am going to get more opinions and will tweak the recipe so it tastes really great (hopefully leading to a follow up post to this one).

Unfortunately, I’m lacking pictures during this whole process. It is nothing exciting unless you taste it for yourself. Ask for Cherry Bounce at your favorite bar and let’s get it flowing through downtown.

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  1. My mom’s family has been making this for years. Use brandy. Here is her receipe:

    – 1 quart cherries (must be ripe)
    – 1 quart whiskey (she prefers apple brandy)
    – 1 cup sugar

    Put cherries in wide jar with cup of sugar.
    Let stand until juice draws, then add whiskey.
    Cover tightly with lid and steep – about 10 days, then pour off liquor and bottle.

    It’s a great after dinner drink for us on special occasions.

  2. Thanks for the tasting! I enjoyed trying all three.

    I say use white sugar next time. Brown sugar, which has molasses, not only thickened the mixture, but added a different flavor. I also agree that ice would’ve been good, though it was so chilly up there, maybe not! :o)

  3. Ice? This is meant to be an after dinner drink. It is sipped, and served in very small glasses. I can’t imagine it being a big drink served at bars. Maybe you could come up with some variation that would be a better party drink, but all the Bounce I’ve had is pretty powerful and best in small amounts. But maybe I’m just old. :)

  4. Why did you use brown sugar? Just wondering…when a recipe calls for “sugar” it means white granulated.

  5. Would have been good to know that. I really do not do a whole lot of cooking too. I had always thought that brown sugar was used in cocktail drinks so I just used the same logic when making the drink.

  6. My gggf was William DePriest, whom his ggf brought Cherry Trees over from France in 1685 to New Kent Co, VA. and planted next to Martha Washington plantation. In 1783, President Washington gave the DePriest 10,000 acres in Rutherford NC, where they planted and distilled Cherry Bounce on what is now called Cherry Mountain. The land grant was because William’s father and Washington were friends and neighbors, and during the Revolutionary War William Sr. died in a British jail waiting trail for counterfeiting British pounds on behalf of Patrick Henry under Washington’s orders.

    My families legend is that William DePriest shared the family recipe brought over from France dating back to 1577 to make Cherry Bounce with Uncle Amos, who really made it famous.. A former employee took Uncle Amos recipe and sold it for 3 shillings to Isaac Lane who were always at odds with each other on who’s Cherry Bounce was better. DePriest Tavern is on the Tax Rolls in 1785.
    Someday, I hope to get a cherry tree from Cherry Mountain and distill my families recipe. Anybody know of a local nursery in the area? I live in New Mexico now.

  7. Amos owens made cherry bounce on cherry Mnt he was my GGGRGF and we still make it to this day hope to compare bounce with you Kevin.

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