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This fruity bourbon cherry cocktail is a perfect drink for sipping on a warm summer or fall evening. The homemade brown sugar and cherry infused syrup makes this drink stand out from the rest.
- It’s not too sweet. Cherry adds a fruity flavor that pairs excellently with bourbon in this drink, without being overly sweet.
- Homemade cherry syrup. The homemade cherry syrup, infused with real cherries, brown sugar, cinnamon and vanilla give this cocktail all its flavor.
- It’s made with frozen cherries. This drink can be made with frozen cherries so it can be made any time of the year.
Ingredients & Substitutions
- Bourbon: Use your favorite type of bourbon for this drink. Use a medium quality bourbon. Save high-end bourbons for drinking on the rocks. You can substitute this with another type of whiskey if you prefer.
- Cherries: You can use fresh or frozen cherries for this drink. If you are using fresh cherries, make sure to pit them first. For frozen cherries, allow them to partially thaw first.
- Brown Sugar: Brown sugar adds a slight caramel flavor to the syrup. If needed, you can substitute this for granulated sugar, but it will alter the taste slightly.
- Cinnamon & Vanilla: Cinnamon and vanilla are used for flavoring in the homemade cherry syrup.
- Lemon Juice: Lemon juice complements the cherry flavor well. Use freshly squeezed juice for the freshest flavor.
- Orange Juice: A small dash of orange juice adds a little bit of sweetness.
- A small saucepan to make the cherry syrup in.
- A cocktail shaker to make the cherry bourbon cocktail.
- Cocktail glasses to serve the cocktail.
Step 1: Heat the cherries, brown sugar, water, cinnamon and vanilla extract in a small saucepan over medium heat. Continue to heat for 5 to 10 minutes until the sugar fully dissolves. Don’t let the syrup boil.
Step 2: Once the sugar has dissolved, remove the syrup from the stove and strain out the leftover cherry chunks.
Step 3: Add the bourbon, cherry syrup, lemon juice, orange juice and a handful of ice to a cocktail shaker. Shake well until the outside of the shaker is frosted. Strain and serve into a chilled cocktail glass.
Make Ahead & Storage
This bourbon cocktail is best served fresh.
To save time, you can make the cherry syrup in advance. To store the syrup, let it fully cool to room temperature. Then, store it in an airtight container in the fridge for up to a week.
This recipe makes about 5 ounces of cherry syrup, so you will be left with extra.
- Chill the cocktail glasses. Chill the cocktail glasses in the freezer for 30 minutes before serving.
- Garnish with cherries. Fresh cherries make the best garnish for this cocktail. You could also use homemade bourbon soaked cherries or store bought Woodford Reserve cherries. If you like the taste, you can also use maraschino cherries.
- Don’t let the syrup boil. Boiling the syrup can cause too much water to evaporate. Adjust the temperature as needed.
The syrup should have a liquid-like consistency. If you heat the syrup at too high a temperature or for too long, too much water will evaporate, leaving the syrup too thick.
This cocktail is not overly sweet. However, if needed, you can reduce the sweetness by doubling the amount of bourbon, or cutting the amount of cherry syrup added in half.
It is easiest to thaw or partially thaw the cherries before making the syrup. To partially thaw, allow the frozen cherries to sit at room temperature for 10-15 minutes.