Suzi's Blog

Brian’s Cherry and Bourbon Celebration



Bitters by Brad Thomas Parsons is filled lore, facts, and recipes. You’ve seen bitters in stores but now there literally is a blizzard of different bitters flavors out there for you to try. Bitters the book has ideas for using and making bitters, and other things too. Like cherry syrup.

I blogged a couple of days ago about how to make and use that cherry syrup. Brad makes a cocktail he calls a Coxsackie Smash in honor of some Upstate friends combining cherry syrup and bourbon. I made his smash and it was good. But, ah, there’s always a but.

But, I found his proportions [2 ounces of bourbon to ¾ ounces of syrup] yielded a drink that was distinctly a bourbon-dominant beverage. I wanted a drink with no dominant single note. Not bourbon, not cherry. I experimented with proportions and found the combination below to be perfect.

I leave it to you to experiment and generate your own favorite proportions. In his drink, Brad adds sour cherries and muddles them into the cherry syrup. Me, I just use lots of cherry syrup.

Brian’s Cherry and Bourbon Celebration

Yield: 1 cocktail


  • 1 lime wedge
  • 10-15 mint leaves
  • 2 ounces of cherry syrup
  • 2 ounces of bourbon
  • Ice cubes and cracked ice, too


In a cocktail shaker, put the lime wedge, mint, and syrup. Muddle until the leaves are well smashed and you have aroma ascending to your nose.

Add the bourbon and ice cubes. Shake until strikingly cold. Pour into a chilled cocktail glass. Add cracked ice.

Adorn, if you wish, with some whole cherries or mint leaves, or perhaps a citrus twist.

Source: inspired from Bitters by Brad Thomas Parsons

Photo Credits: Canon T2i, 18-55mm lens at F/2.8, 1/20th second at ISO 3200 


Homemade Cherry Syrup


That is cherry wood in the background. From a 12-foot cherry dining room table that Suzen fell in love with. And around which we built our house in the Catskills. I know that sounds a little backwards — a house for table, and for the dining room she craved. But that is what Suzi wanted.

We are a typical couple. She is the social one. I am the male loner, that man she worries might go postal if not surrounded by civilized people. In our New York City loft, Suzi runs Cooking by the Book. The entire loft is oriented around her corporate team building events. During the week, we live “around” the business. Literally.

On weekends, we are upstate. In the dining room. Seated with friends around that cherry table. And I rarely think about going postal, or even UPS.

Oh, to the point. The glass holds, naturally, cherry syrup. This is a wonderful device with multiple uses: in drinks, with fruit, over pound cake, …

The syrup takes minutes to make and stores for a month. Tomorrow, I’ll suggest a beverage that uses this cherry syrup in a sublimely delicious way. So, you need to slip out and get some frozen cherries. [And some bourbon or whiskey!]


Homemade Cherry Syrup

Yield: 2 ½ cups


  • 1 ½ cups water
  • 1 ½ cups sugar
  • 1 12-ounce bag of frozen cherries


Place all the ingredients in a sauce pan over medium heat. Stir with a slotted spoon and methodically push the spoon to the side of the pan and crush the cherries. Take your time, performing this crushing action as you bring the syrup to a boil.

Bring to a full boil, then remove from the heat. Stir and crush the final cherries. Allow to cool, then store in the refrigerator in a closed container.


Source: Brian O’Rourke inspired by Bitters by Brad Thomas Parsons

Photo Information: Cannon T2i with 18-55MM macro lens, shot at F/2.8 and ISO 400 for 1/60th second