The Great Cherry Bounce Experiment
Like magic, Jemmy’s eyelids floated up. He smiled dreamily at Roger.
“Hallo, Daddy.” Still smiling beatifically, his eyes closed and he relaxed into utter limpness, cheek flattened against his father’s knee.
“He’s all right,” Roger told her.
“Well, good,” she said, not particularly mollified. “What do you think they’ve been drinking? Beer?”
Roger leaned forward and sniffed at his offspring’s red-stained lips.
”Cherry Bounce, at a guess. There’s a vat of it, round by the barn.”
“Holy God!” She’d never drunk Cherry Bounce, but Mrs. Bug had told her how to make it: “Tak’ the juice of a bushel o’ cherries, dissolve twenty-four pound o’ sugar ower it, then ye put it into a forty-gallon cask and fill it up wi’ whisky.”
“He’s all right.” Roger patted her arm. “Is that Germain over there?”
“It is.” She leaned over to check, but Germain was peacefully asleep, also smiling. “That Cherry Bounce must be good stuff.”
“It’s terrible. Like industrial-strength cough syrup. I will say it makes ye very cheerful, though.”
Diana Gabaldon, A Breath of Snow and Ashes (Chapter 6, Ambush)
With a review like that, how could you not give Cherry Bounce a go?
But since one should never drink alone, I’ve roped a few Outlander friends into joining me. We’ve each made a batch and plan to let it brew for 6 months — which should take us right to Hogmanay.
Will you join us? Start a small batch now, and then open it with us on the big day. We’ll toast the Fraser Clan and Auld Lang Syne, and wish each other the best for the New Year!
We started with the same basic recipe, but each of us have gone with a different base booze, depending on what we found at the back of the liquor cabinet (and in some cases in the back of our parent’s liquor cabinet — we’re talking from the early 80s here people.)
Because make no mistake, Jamie didn’t hand over a cask of the 5 YO whisky to Mrs. Bug for the Bounce. No way — it was raw spirit — the kind of stuff that I like to call Hooch.
Recipes like this are rough to begin with. And when you break them down as far as we’re about to, the quantities get even rougher. But the fact of the matter is that we’re aiming for cough syrup and starting with hooch. There’s a little wiggle room.
I chose to go with less sugar rather than more. Apparently George Washington liked his Bounce extra sweet, but I’ll take his wooden dentures as a sign to try a different path.
(Click on the link below for a printable version of the recipe.)
Take the juice of a bushel of cherries, dissolve 24 lb of sugar over it, then ye put it in a 40 gallon cask and fill it with whisky. (Diana Gabaldon, A Breath of Snow and Ashes, Chapter 6, Ambush)
This was my first reduction to the recipe:
Sour Cherries – 1 Quart – 2 lbs
Sugar – ¾ lb – 1 ½ Cups
Whisky, Brandy, Vodka – 1 Gallon
Sour cherries are what Bounce was originally made with. I don’t have fresh sour cherries on my little island, so I used the deepest-reddest cherries I could find.
Below are 2 slightly different variations of my final reduction, depending on what type of cherries you can find.
Sour Cherries, stems removed – 1 lb
Sugar – 1/3 Cup
Whisky, Brandy, Vodka – 1 Quart
Deep Red Cherries, stems removed – 1 lb
Sugar – ¼ Cup
Juice & Zest of 1 Lemon
Whisky, Brandy, Vodka – 1 Quart
Put the cherries, pits and all, into a 2 quart (or larger) jar and pour the sugar, and lemon zest and juice over the cherries. Stir to dissolve. Add the hooch, stir well and cover with the lid.
Store in a cool dark place for between 3 to 6 months before cracking it open. Sláinte!
These are my 2 little hoochie babies. I went with Grants and fresh cherries for one batch, and when I found a jar of sour cherries in light syrup gathering dust on our rather small grocery store’s shelves, I returned to the liquor store and asked for the Hoochiest Hooch they could give me. The answer? Alberta Rye.
How right they are.
Next up, Alylene combined 2 bottles donated by her man, and then with the patience of a saint, and the help of a wooden spoon handle, shoved the cherries and all into a JD bottle. Love the picture!
Then came Lior, who found the coolest jar by far. We’re all coveting it, especially the $5 price tag she found it at. I don’t know how much she paid for the McIvor’s but I hope it wasn’t much more than the jar.
Rose chose the “upscale” route with her bottle of JD, but we won’t hold it against her.
And last is Lori, who has the best bottle of booze, plucked from the back of her parent’s liquor cabinet. A great use of a 30+ year old bottle of booze that hasn’t seen the light of day in almost as many years.
Will you take a chance and join The Great Cherry Bounce Experiment? We’d love to have you along for the ride! We’ll figure out how to share our Bounce time together on Hogmanay as we go…but in the meantime, post a picture of your batch on the Outlander Kitchen Facebook page, and we’ll get the party started now!