Sat 05 August 2023
Many years ago I had the good fortune to have a small but significant harvest of Montmorency sour cherries from a young tree I'd planted a few years prior. On doing a web search to find ideas for what to do with them, besides making pie of course, I found a recipe for Door County Cherry Bounce, a simple liqueur-like drink using only cherries, sugar and whiskey or vodka. This sounded like a good experiment, so I made a quart. After waiting the requisite few weeks to let it "work", I took my first sample of the brilliant cherry-red fluid and oh! what a rich cherry/almond fragrance and flavor, I fell in love with it immediately! Afterward, I loved pouring a small glass and sipping the wonderful stuff, letting it swirl around in my mouth and slowly swallowing it, savoring that sweet rich cherry sensation and experience.
Some years afterward, well after that first batch was gone, Kristin and the kids and I took a camping trip to Door County. One day we rode the ferry to Washington Island, rented bikes and had a nice afternoon biking around the island. As we traveled the country roads, I noticed many chokecherry trees along the fencelines, and immediately thought I'd like to try making chokecherry bounce. At the time though, I had no practical way to harvest and transport the fruits home, so I didn't do it.
But the thought has been in my mind ever since, and I finally got my chance to make it a couple weeks ago. There are a couple chokecherry trees near our apartment, and I'd been eyeing them since I discovered them in the spring, watching the little pencil-eraser-sized cherries turn from green to pink to to red and finally a lovely deep maroon-black. Tasting them gave me that sweet and astringent wild cherry flavor I love and I decided this was the the time to make my long-awaited chokecherry bounce.
I gathered 2 cups of fruits and cleaned them of stems and debris.
Several sources I Googled recommended using rye whiskey for chokecherry bounce. As it happens, the Cedar Ridge Distillery is a mere 15 miles from here and makes a very nice rye, so that's what I chose for this project.
And today, 10 days after I put this concoction together, the mix has a lovely, deep burgundy color. I have to wait until the end of October before it's ready, and I can hardly wait!