Cocktails/ Desserts/ Preserving & Canning/ Recipe/ Vegetarian

Bourbon Soaked Cherries… As Life Intended.

I have three words for you today: Bourbon. Soaked. Cherries.
Bourbon Soaked Cherries Recipe -
Oh yes.
Now let me ask you: Out of all the things you love to put in your mouth, what’s your favorite?
Bourbon Soaked Cherries Recipe - Cherries in a jar
I’ll go first… I’m a big fan of anything soft and chewy like gnocchi, pasta, polenta, sour-dough bread or cheese – especially fresh buffalo mozzarella. Ooooh! And cake! I love spongy soft cake. It isn’t so much a savoury/sweet/salty thing for me but a texture one. I love soft and chewy. When I get cravings it’s usually for something of this genre. It’s also probably why I love Italian food so much. Unfortunately, the spare tire I’m working so diligently to remove enjoys those foods too.

Bourbon Soaked Cherries Recipe -
Bourbon Soaked Cherries Recipe -

I also like fruit in things. Fruit by itself is good – but fruit actually stuffed into stuff makes my little mouth happy. Like in this recipe or this recipe or this recipe or this recipe or this recipe. It always adds a bit of sweetness and freshness to anything it’s tucked into. Golden plums as well as B.C. cherries should be coming into season soon, along with strawberries, blueberries, blackberries, and all the other berries you can think of. I love cooking with fruit!

Bourbon Soaked Cherries Recipe -
Heck! I also love drinking with fruit. Wine is the obviously beverage of choice – it’s alcoholic fruit in a bottle! But something I’ve taken to in the past few weeks is bourbon in general, and Old Fashioned’s in particular. There’s just something so rugged and burly about sipping hard liquor out of a rocks glass. And despite social conventions, sometimes it’s nice – as a lady – to get a little rugged and burly. And I’m not talkin’ Hugh Jackman… though he may be nice, too. It’s a power drink – and I am powerful. All on my own. Plus it tastes good and I get to have “bourbon fingers”…

Bourbon Soaked Cherries Recipe -

…And I can put cherries in it, effectively preparing bourbon soaked cherries… As life intended.

Bourbon Soaked Cherries

Yield 4 250ml jars


  • 4 C red Summer cherries
  • 2 ½ C organic cane sugar
  • 2 ½ C water
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 4-8 shots of bourbon


  1. Sit down with a Boulevardier or Maple Bacon Bourbon Manhattan and pit the cherries. The OXO cherry pitter feels good in your hand and works very well.
  2. Place the water and sugar in a medium sized saucepan. Bring to a light boil, stirring constantly, until sugar dissolves.
  3. Add the lemon juice and vanilla extract. Remove from the heat.
  4. As you dissolve the sugar, you can bring a water bath canner full of water to the boil. If you have don't have one, just use a very deep wide stock pot with one of those old fashioned metal steamers laid out in the bottom. This will keep the jars off the bottom of the pot so they don't break. Fill the pot with water and bring to a rolling boil.
  5. Using very clean hands, place the pit-free cherries in the jars, leaving ¾” of head space at the top of the jars.. Pour the simple syrup over the cherries (still leaving that 3/4 inch of space at the top and spoon 1 to 2 Oz of bourbon over the entire mixture, depending how boozy you like your fruit. This should leave you with 1/2" of head space.
  6. Wipe the rim of the jars with a clean, dry towel and secure rims and lids. Air needs to escape from the jars when you boil the jars so tighten the lids just enough so there’s no give when you try to tighten further but not so hard that you have to fight to get them open.
  7. Place in the boiling water to ensure seal and sanitization for 15 minutes.
  8. Carefully remove from the water with a jar lifter (or a pair of tongs with rubber bands wrapped around the ends to prevent slippage) and set on a clean towel. Allow to set for up to 12 hours. You may hear a "ping" noise coming from the jars - this is an excellent sign.
  9. Once completely cool, unscrew the rings and check to make sure the lids have in fact sealed and refrigerate any that don't. While you should use unsealed cherries within a couple weeks, the sealed ones will last you up to a year. Store sealed jars in a cool, dark place.
  10. Eat. Drink. Or both.


What do you just love to eat? Do you have a food and/or beverage of choice? Have you tried Bourbon Soaked Cherries? Hugh Jackman counts. 
Bourbon Soaked Cherries Recipe -
  • Sam
    June 6, 2012 at 10:25 AM

    1) So hard not to make an inappropriate comment when you start your blog posts with “what’s your favorite thing to put in your mouth”…

    2) If cherries come my way this year and I can refrain from eating all of them I am definitely preserving some this way. I have a recipe for canning cherries in simple syrup. How does adding booze affect pH?

  • Shelly { @ Quiet Luxury }
    June 6, 2012 at 2:43 PM

    Bourbon cherries sounds delish. I’m definitely pinning this. 🙂


    • Kristy Lynn
      June 6, 2012 at 3:36 PM

      they get better the longer they sit 🙂

  • Laura @ Laura Williams Musings
    June 6, 2012 at 3:27 PM

    Those look good!

    Inviting you the Carnival of Home Preserving on my blog every Friday. Hope to see you there. Laura Williams’ Musings

    The most recent edition – – open until Thursday 6/7.

    • Kristy Lynn
      June 6, 2012 at 3:37 PM

      I’ll stop by Laura! Thanks for taking the time to say hello 🙂

  • Swathi Iyer
    June 6, 2012 at 6:30 PM

    Bourbon and cherries looks like nice combo. I haven’t tried though, so can’t comment how it taste like.

    • Kristy Lynn
      June 7, 2012 at 5:59 PM

      i’ll tell you swathi: divine 😉

  • Push.Pump.Progress
    June 6, 2012 at 6:36 PM

    yummy! they look great, and you had me at bourbon… 🙂

    • Kristy Lynn
      June 7, 2012 at 6:00 PM

      and it had me after about 3 drinks!

  • Lindsey at NW Backyard Veggies
    June 6, 2012 at 9:28 PM

    I loves me some pasta, too. Which is why I have leftover belly fat that I have named Delores. She is with me always. I feel I should get a tax deduction for her as she is entirely my dependent.

    I would climb Hugh Jackman like a tree. Just saying.

    I also LOVE eating sugar pod peas straight off the vine. They almost never make it into the house. Can we soak peas in liquor? Would that be gross?

    • Kristy Lynn
      June 7, 2012 at 6:00 PM

      Everything you just said…. made me fall over. literally. though that could have been the thought of hugh jackman covered in bourbon 😉

  • Heather Anne
    June 7, 2012 at 3:37 PM

    DUDE. These look CRAZY good and easy!!! Right up my alley. I LOVE CHERRIES! I might actually try this.

    • Kristy Lynn
      June 7, 2012 at 6:01 PM

      So simple! So delicious! So boozy! haha

  • Anna @ hiddenponies
    June 8, 2012 at 5:37 AM

    Mmmm, Hugh. And these cherries – wow.

    • Kristy Lynn
      June 8, 2012 at 4:21 PM

      my thoughts exactly, anna.

  • Diane Balch
    June 8, 2012 at 2:40 PM

    My mom used to make something like this with brandy and we would put it over ice cream. thanks for reminding me. Please share this on my foodie friday party today.

    • Kristy Lynn
      June 8, 2012 at 4:22 PM

      those are my favourite food moments – when they bring back memories of childhood. mind you, if you had a terrible childhood that might not be so great.

      on my way diane! thanks for stopping by..

  • Laura @ Laura Williams Musings
    June 8, 2012 at 4:43 PM

    Thanks for linking up at the Carnival of Home Preserving!

    • Kristy Lynn
      June 9, 2012 at 3:55 PM

      Thanks for the heads up Laura!

  • Anonymous
    June 9, 2012 at 5:30 AM

    What’s the best way to pit cherries? Any suggestions?

    • Kristy Lynn
      June 9, 2012 at 3:56 PM

      get a cherry pitter. use it.

      ….if that fails, i just left mine in.

  • April @ The 21st Century Housewife
    June 10, 2012 at 4:35 AM

    I LOVE Old Fashioneds! And Manhattans as well. Either of which would be so lovely with your wonderful cherries. I’m also picturing them on ice cream, or on a cream topped meringue…What a gorgeous recipe!

    • Kristy Lynn
      June 11, 2012 at 2:52 PM

      Me too! boozy-goodness!

  • Anonymous
    July 6, 2013 at 7:49 AM

    I use a chopstick to pit cherries. This sounds really good!

  • Ian
    July 25, 2013 at 1:33 AM

    Thanks for posting this…. I just made these and it seems that the 15 minutes of boiling during the canning process takes much of the nice dark red colour from the cherries. They end up being more pinkish and grey rather than the deep red they were.

    Any thoughts? Is this just the way it is? Or is there something I need to do differently?


    • Kristy Gardner
      July 26, 2013 at 1:03 PM

      Hi Ian,

      Thanks for your comment! I have no idea. That didn’t happen with mine and I’ve made a good 3 or 4 batches of them. You can try cutting down on the boiling process by 3-5 minutes and see what happens but I don’t think that should change much and you do want to make sure everything seals adequately and all the outer bacteria is destroyed.

      The only thing I can think of is maybe your seals and lids weren’t secured properly and water leaked in. That would create a discoloration.

    • Ian
      July 27, 2013 at 12:06 PM

      Thanks for the reply. I haven’t done a lot of canning so it’s possible the lids weren’t quite tight enough. I’ll try another batch and see how it goes. Thanks!

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  • Susan
    June 18, 2014 at 11:04 AM

    My mind is racing with all kinds of recipes that boozey cherries would be good in. I am definately going to give these a try. 🙂

  • Christona
    July 4, 2014 at 4:23 PM

    I love the look the way your cherries have maintained their form because of the cold pack canning method you used.
    I will likely add a batch like this to my list of canning for the summer. 🙂
    I don’t boil my lids (although I used to) for long though because I read that heating them too long damages the rubber part prior to actual canning.

    • Kristy Gardner
      November 25, 2014 at 5:49 PM

      That can be true Christona – you’re probably right in that. I’ll have to do a bit more digging on it. I think they’re generally okay as long as they’re first use.

      • Becky
        June 29, 2016 at 4:38 AM

        You only want to use lids once. And supposedly, they don’t need to be heated anymore, but I’d check the box. At the very least, they only need to be heated, not boiled.

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  • Mary
    November 25, 2014 at 5:20 PM

    Hi there, found your blog on FBC, and shared this recipe link and your blog link on my “spreading blog love” post. These cherries must be divine! Will have to make them for sure! Here is link to the post:

    • Kristy Gardner
      November 25, 2014 at 5:50 PM

      Hey Mary! Oh I’m so honoured – thank you for including me! I’d be glad to share them with you when we meet. Because if you’re part of FBC, we’ll definitely meet one day 😉 xo!

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  • Melissa @ Now You're Cookin'
    April 27, 2016 at 9:41 PM

    Aww man, I wish cherries were in season right now. My fiance’s birthday is in two days and he loves the real cherries our neighborhood bar uses — these would be a perfect gift for me to make him. Pinning for later!

  • Stephanie
    June 30, 2016 at 6:50 PM

    I made these tonight and I had a couple of issues. First of all I had entirely too much simple syrup. I could have easily have done half as much, is that normal? Also, my cherries lost their color and were spewing liquid out of the top when I removed them from the water bath. I measured the head space and heated the jars and lids as I would for any other canning. Has anyone had this problem? I’m wondering if it would be because the fruit wasn’t heated first? Any insight would be appreciated!

    • Kristy Gardner
      July 5, 2016 at 3:39 PM

      Hey Stephanie! Thanks for taking a few moments to reach out. I’m sorry you had some problems with the recipe. That’s so frustrating, I’m sure. Lots of readers have made this recipe without issue – it sounds like a technical error to me.

      I’ve never had too much simple syrup and make these every year – it’s possible your jars were smaller or maybe your cherries larger so they took up more space in the jar, leaving less room for the syrup.

      For the water bath issue, the cherries don’t need to be heated in advance. The only thing I can think of with respect to the cherries losing their colour would be that you maybe heated them too long and cooked them through….? And for the “spewing liquid” , it sounds like your jars weren’t sealed properly. Did you by chance overfill them or not have them entirely covered in the bath? I’ve had a jar do that once when I didn’t tighten it enough before it went into the bath but just the one time.

      I hope next time they work better for you. And that my thoughts help. If you want to chat further, please feel free to shoot me an email.
      Kristy Gardner recently published…#MargaritaWeek: Mint Cucumber & Smoky Jalapeno MargaritaMy Profile

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