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To Make an Excellent Cherry Bounce

Makes about 3 quarts

Among the few recipes known to have been used by the Washington family is this one for Cherry Bounce, a brandy-based drink popular in the eighteenth century. It seems to have been such a favorite of General Washington’s that he packed a “Canteen” of it, along with Madeira and port, for a trip west across the Allegheny Mountains in September 1784.


  • 2 1/2 cups heavy cream
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • Juice and zest of 1 large lemon
  • 1 cup sweet white wine
  • 1/2 cup cream sherry
  1. Combine the cream, sugar, and lemon zest in the bowl of an electric mixer.
  2. Combine the lemon juice, white wine, and sherry, blending together well. Mixing on low speed, slowly pour into the cream mixture, whipping for about 10 minutes until the syllabub is light and foamy.
  3. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap, and set in the refrigerator to chill for about 8 hours, or overnight, to let the flavors blend together. Stir the syllabub at least once while chilling to make sure the ingredients are thoroughly combined.
  4. Pour the chilled syllabub into small wine glasses, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate for at least 8 hours, or overnight.
  5. To serve, place the chilled glasses of syllabub on dessert plates set with long-handled spoons.

Food photography by Renée Comet, styled by Lisa Cherkasky.

This recipe is a modern adaptation of the 18th-century original. It was created by culinary historian Nancy Carter Crump for the book Dining with the Washingtons (2011).