Beverage/ Christmas/ Dessert/ Fermenting/ Vegetarian

Drunken Cinnamon Bourbon Cherries

It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas… and that means that it’s the time of year when my mind goes into overdrive while our beautiful summer fruits are visiting, concocting fruit–alcohol marriages that are made in heaven.

Maple whiskey peaches, Amaretto figs, poached pears, you name it – there’s always plenty of jars to fill.

But it’s Christmas, so let’s talk about the one fruit that screams ‘Festivus’, and that fruit is cherries. It’s the time of year when cherries are plentiful, delicious and somewhat affordable – and with their blink-and-you’ll-miss-it season in full swing, now is the time to stock up and do as many things as you possibly can with these little summer jewels.

And this boozy doozy is a great place to start.

These cinnamon bourbon cherries are as decadent and alcoholic as they sound. Fresh, pitted cherries soaked in a bourbon-heavy, sweetened syrup and gently infused with cinnamon spice… and they are hedonistically divine.

They are also super versatile – they bring a new depth of flavour to baked dishes, are amazing as a garnish to cocktails (think Maraschino cherries, but way better), or my favourite, perched atop a scoop of creamy vanilla ice cream, with a generous drizzle of the amazing by-product of this concoction; a ruby-hued, bourbon-infused cherry molasses. It’s thick, sweet and intense!

Sponge cake and freshly whipped cream is another great idea or alternatively, you could just hit at them with nothing but a spoon – they really don’t need too much in the way of company, and they will last in the fridge for up to a year.

This recipe is definitely geared for sweet cherries but you can use any variety you like. The darker and redder ones do garnish a more attractive result though. And if you are planning on using the cherries purely as a garnish for your Christmas cocktails, you can omit the cinnamon to keep the flavour a little more neutral – the result is beautiful either way.

This recipe appeared in the December 2017 edition of Townsville Food Magazine. You can see the full feature here.

Drunken Cinnamon Bourbon Cherries

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By Nosh - An Eater's Manifesto Serves: 2 x 250ml jars
Prep Time: 15 minutes Cooking Time: 10 minutes

While our beautiful summer stone fruits are visiting, this fruit–alcohol marriage of cherries and bourbon is a match made in heaven.


  • 300g fresh cherries
  • 250ml good quality bourbon
  • 1/4 cup caster sugar
  • 1 cinnamon stick (about 10cm in length)



Pit the cherries, using a cherry pitter or a simple chopstick.


Place the sugar and cinnamon into a small saucepan and pour in the bourbon. Gently heat to dissolve the sugar then bring to a simmer. Add the cherries and cook for five minutes.


Take off the heat and transfer the cherries and cinnamon to a sterilised jar, ensuring that the cherries are well packed.


Fill to the top with the bourbon syrup, ensuring that all of the cherries are completely submerged. Seal and leave to cool to room temperature. If stored in the fridge, the cherries will keep for several months.

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