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.
This fruity, spiced cordial requires a bit of work and time, but the result is well worth the effort. After pitting, halving, and mashing the cherries, be prepared to set away the sweetened brandied juice for twenty-four hours and then again for about two weeks after infusing it with spices. Enjoy small glasses of Cherry Bounce at room temperature, and keep the remainder on hand in the refrigerator.
10 to 11 pounds fresh sour cherries, preferably Morello, or 3 (1-pound, 9-ounce) jars preserved Morello cherries
4 cups brandy
3 cups sugar, plus more as needed
2 cinnamon sticks, broken into pieces
2 to 3 whole cloves
1 (1/4-inch) piece fresh whole nutmeg