Recreate George Washington's Favorite Cocktail With The Help Of Sour Cherries

George Washington may not have chopped down that cherry tree, but the founding father definitely enjoyed a boozy beverage where cherry is the intensely, predominate flavor. According to his Mount Vernon estate, the first President of the United States liked to drink a brandy-based beverage called Cherry Bounce. Washington liked it so much he would carry cherry bounce in canteen-like water. Well, times have changed, but the cherry bounce is still in vogue and if you are looking to serve it as a closer at a dinner party or in a Manhattan at your next book party, you will need some sour cherries and a little patience.

This spiced cordial is not for those short on time. It starts with 10 pounds of fresh sour cherries that need to be pitted, halved, mashed, and strained before combining the extracted cherry juice with a traditional brandy, or for a more modern rendition you could use vodka or bourbon.  Why sour cherries instead of sweet ones? Sour cherries have a lower amount of sugar than sweet ones but more acidity that adds a little zing to your taste buds. When they are cooked, they become even sweeter.

How to use

The flavor profile of your sour cherries is important to keep in mind as you choose which alcohol you will use as your base. Vodka's flavor is subtle so you will get a true cherry taste when you steep it with cherry juice while bourbon and brandy bring a variety of flavors to the mix. Regardless of your alcohol choice, you will need to let it steep for a full day in the fridge before removing just a couple of cups to boil and turn into a concentrate along with some sugar and whole spices like cinnamon sticks, nutmeg, and cloves. This allows the spices to release their flavors as they warm.

After it cools, you will return that sweetened, spiced liquid to the container holding the rest of the cherry juice and let it steep for two weeks. When you are ready to use it, you can serve it as an after-dinner drink to sip on, serve it over ice on a hot summer day for a backyard party, or add it to some prosecco and create your version of a Spritz. You can even drizzle it over ice cream or use it in a shake for a sweet treat.

You will want to store your cherry bounce in the fridge, and if fresh sour cherries are nowhere to be found or out of season, the Mount Vernon recipe notes you can use preserved Morello cherries.