By Cheryl Simone

Cherry bounce, a brandy-based drink popular in the eighteenth century, is a drink ascribed to General George Washington. It is rumored that he packed a “canteen or two” of it 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. Enjoy small glasses of cherry bounce at room temperature or make a rocking ice cream parfait.

Makes about 3 quarts; start process 2-3 weeks before needed.

George Washington Cherry Bounce Ice Cream Parfait


  • About 10 pounds fresh sour cherries, or 1-2 # of preserved cherries (in syrup ok, drain)
  • 1 bottle brandy
  • 3 cups sugar, plus more as needed
  • 2 cinnamon sticks, broken into pieces
  • 2 to 3 cloves
  • 1 (1/4-inch) piece fresh whole nutmeg


  1. If using fresh cherries, pit the cherries, cut them in half and mash the fruit to extract as much juice as possible. Strain the juice through a large fine-mesh strainer, pressing the fruit with a sturdy spoon (you should have about 8 cups). Reserve the mashed cherries in the freezer or refrigerator for later use.
  2. If using jarred cherries, drain the fruit and set the juice aside before halving and mashing the cherries. Use both the juice from the mashed cherries and jarred juice.
  3. In a gallon glass jar, combine the juice with the brandy and sugar. Cover with the lid and set aside in the refrigerator for 24 hours, occasionally stirring or carefully shaking the jar.
  4. After 24 hours, simmer 2 cups of the juice medium heat. Do not boil. Taste the sweetened juice and add more sugar, if desired. Stir in the cinnamon sticks, cloves and nutmeg. Then cover, and simmer for about 20 minutes. Remove from the heat, cool to room temperature. Strain.
  5. Stir the spiced juice back into the 1-gallon glass jar with the reserved sweetened juice. Cover loosely with the lid, and set aside for at least 2 weeks before serving, occasionally shaking the jar with care.
  6. Serve at room temperature in small cordial or wine glasses.

a. Make Cherry Bounce
b. Chill ice cream glasses (wine glasses work )
c. Ladle hot fudge in bottom of glass
d. Top with small scoop of favorite cherry or vanilla ice cream
e. Top with cherries
f. Top with a largish scoop of ice cream
g. Put small dab of fudge sauce and some cherries on top
h. Pour about 2 T-1/4 cup of cherry bounce over sundae
i. Top with whipped cream and stemmed maraschino cherry

Susan Delbert joined The Fourth Estate Restaurant at the National Press Club as Executive Chef after working at The Old Ebbitt Grill in Washington, D.C. as Sous Chef for several years. Delbert has worked in several Washington restaurants, including The Oval Room, BeDuCi in Dupont Circle and Gerard’s Place. She started her culinary career as a Front of the House Maitre d’ in Clyde’s of Chevy Chase. She trained at the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, N.Y., where she graduated at the top of her class. She was an invited participant in an Italian regional cooking program sponsored by the Italian Trade Commission.


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