Bourbon Cherries


When we were visiting our daughter over the Christmas holiday she had made some bourbon cherries that made a great Manhattan. Maybe not a traditional Manhattan, but a pretty good variation. I made a batch of these tasty cherries when I got home and I think the longer they “cure” the better.


1 fifth of bourbon (I used Evan Williams)

1 pint of grand Grand Marnier

1 cup granulated sugar

1/2 cup brown sugar

2 T vanilla (or 2 vanilla beans slit)

1 T whole allspice

3 cinnamon sticks

a little grated nutmeg

32 ounces of frozen, pitted tart cherries


In a large heavy kettle combine bourbon, grand mariner, sugars and spices. Over low heat whisk until sugars are completely dissolved. DO NOT boil. Turn the heat off and allow it to steep and cool down.  Once off the heat stir in the vanilla.


Put the cherries in glass jars and pour the cooled alcohol mix over the cherries. You can leave the spices in the jars but be careful to remove them before serving.

To prepare your faux Manhattan…

In a small glass with a little ice pour “cherry juice” over the ice. Add a couple dashes of orange or Angostura bitters. Spear a few cherries on a cocktail pick and serve. You can add a bit of orange or lemon peel for garnish if you wish. A traditional Manhattan has a little sweet or dry vermouth but the grand mariner is a great substitute.


I think these cherries would be awesome over a scoop of vanilla ice cream or on a dish of homemade rice pudding.

Cheers!  Happy New Year.

Pumpkin Cheesecake



My brother and sister-in-law and her parents were visiting this weekend to celebrate her birthday. I wanted to make her something special and different from a typical birthday cake. I looked through my stash of recipes torn from my cooking magazines and came across Emeril Lagasse’s Pumpkin Cheesecake with Bourbon Spiked Cream. Well, I love pumpkin, I love cheesecake and I love bourbon so I’m thinking this looks promising. This looks like something my sister-in-law would love as much as me. And she would love me for making it for her. It’s definitely a day before recipe which is a good thing when you’re having guests. It was relatively easy to make. The instructions have you mixing most of it in a food processor but if you don’t have one a good stand mixer would work fine. Pumpkin cheesecake, it’s what was for dessert tonight. Happy birthday sister!

For the crust:

1 1/2 cups of vanilla wafer crumbs (about 45 crushed wafers)

1 cup of pecans, ground

1 stick unsalted butter

For the Cheesecake:

2 pounds cream cheese, cubed and at room temperature

1 cup packed light brown sugar

6 large eggs

1/2 cup heavy cream

1/2 cup all purpose flour

pinch of salt

1/2 tsp ground cinnamon

1 tsp vanilla extract

2 cups canned pure pumpkin


Preheat at the oven to 350.

Combine the crumbs, ground pecans and melted butter in a bowl. Press into the bottom of a 12-inch springform pan. (I happen to have a square springform pan that I love.)



In your food processor fitted with the metal blade mix the cream cheese until smooth.


Add the brown sugar and process until blended. Add the eggs, one at a time, processing until fully incorporated. Next blend in the heavy cream. Add the flour, salt, cinnamon and vanilla and blend until smooth. Add the pumpkin and blend until smooth. Pour the filling over the crust in your springform pan.


Bake 1 hour and 15 minutes or until the cheesecake is just set. Remove from the oven. Use a knife to loosen the cake from the sides of the pan to prevent the center from cracking. Let the cake cool completely before slicing. I refrigerated mine when it had completely cooled.


Now for the bourbon whipped cream.

2 cups of heavy whipping cream

dash of bourbon

2 T sugar


Stir the dash of bourbon into the cream.  Whip the cream until soft peaks form gradually adding in the sugar as you whip. I think my “dash” was a little heavy handed but please “season to taste.”


A piece of good cheesecake is a thing of beauty. Happy birthday!