Door County Cherry Bounce: Wisconsin Tradition
Sorry for the long-ish hiatus over the past few weeks. My family recently lost a wonderful woman, my great-aunt. I was named Elizabeth after her, but, like 99% of Elizabeths, we both have random nicknames – I’m Libby, and she was Betty, although far more people knew her by her childhood nickname: Pooch. I headed north to Luxemburg, WI to spend the week with family, celebrating Poochie’s life and sharing lots of great stories.
Luxemburg is just south of Door County – for non-Wisconsinites, here’s a “hand”-y guide to where that is: look at your right hand, palm up. This is basically Wisconsin. The space between your index finger and thumb is Green Bay (Go Pack Go!) and your thumb is Door County. Door County is famous for, among other things, tart cherries. When the cherries are ready to pick, they’re pretty much the only thing anyone can talk about in this region of the state. My aunt Pooch lived most of her life with a cherry orchard in her backyard, and she was famous for decorating her kitchen completely in a cherry motif, baking phenomenal cherry pies, and making a mean annual batch of cherry bounce.
Cherry bounce is a pretty simple thing – cherries, whisky, and sugar. Add it all together when the cherries are at their peak, then seal it up and do your best not to touch it until Thanksgiving. The result is a sweet (and pretty lethal) cherry-infused whisky that is perfect to drink on the rocks, or, in true Sconnie style, in an Old Fashioned
- 1 quart whole unpitted tart cherries
- Door County cherries are Montmorency variety – just make sure what you use is tart, not your standard grocery store Bing cherries
- 1 liter of whiskey
- I definitely welcome experimentation, but the elders of my family all agree that the whisky should be Canadian, and it should be very cheap. Ideally, the less flavor the whiskey has, the better the cherries will infuse. Also though, we make a lot of this stuff, so it makes sense to get a good deal. This year we used Barton’s Canadian, since there was a mail-in rebate, and I think we made about 10 liters total. We’re damn classy.
- 3/4 to 1 cup of sugar, depending on your tastes