Bourbon Cherry Ice Cream


Hey guys! So remember my awesome sister Erica? (see here, here or here for a refresher, to give a few examples) She’s a mother of two now, and an amazing cook, and she used her free time to grace us with this amazing ice cream recipe. Enjoy!


This ice cream is the perfect late-summer treat. Although, come to think of it, with frozen cherries available year-round, it’s a perfect anytime treat!


You can use the recipe for your favorite vanilla ice cream if you have it, with the addition of bourbon for flavor, or you can use the simple custard recipe I’m including here.

It’s a bit time consuming because of waiting for things to freeze at different stages, but overall it’s quite a simple recipe. So, strap on your favorite little helper, and get crackalackin’!


Bourbon Cherry Ice cream


For the custard

4 cups half and half
1⁄2 cup sugar
6 egg yolks
2 tsps vanilla extract
1 TBS bourbon

For the cherry syrup

12 oz bag frozen sweet dark cherries
1⁄2 c sugar
1 TBSP bourbon

066 067

For the custard:

Heat half and half over med heat in a medium heavy bottomed pot. Stir occasionally.

Meanwhile, whisk egg yolks with sugar and vanilla in a large bowl until frothy and light yellow.

When the half and half is almost boiling, pour in a thin stream into yolk mixture while whisking to temper the egg yolks. Return to the pot over med- med/low heat, whisking frequently.

073Bring the heat of the custard up to almost boiling point and keep it there until the custard begins to thicken nicely. Remove from heat and strain through a fine-mesh sieve to remove any clumps of cooked egg. Stir in the bourbon (or your choice of liquor). **


Refrigerate for at least 4 hours, preferably overnight.


**Adding a small amount of alcohol will actually help your ice cream have a more velvety texture since it slows down the freezing process somewhat. Be careful, though! If you are feeling free-handed with the booze, your custard may not freeze as well as you want it to! A good rule of thumb is 1-1.5 TBSP per 4 c of cream or half and half.

For the cherries:

Place frozen cherries in a medium saucepan and pour sugar and bourbon over them. Stir occasionally over medium heat, letting the cherries simmer in their juices for 25-35 minutes or till you get a fairly thick syrup. You can test the thickness of the syrup by drizzling a tiny amount onto a frozen plate, or you can wing it and return the sauce to the stove later if it’s not thick enough. It will thicken considerably when cooled, so don’t let it turn into a hard candy!

080Once it reaches your desired thickness . . .


. . . strain out the cherries and reserve both cherries and syrup. Refrigerate till thoroughly chilled.


For the ice cream:

Once the custard and cherries are nice and cold, follow your ice cream maker’s instructions to turn that lovely custard into soft-serve ice cream. At this point, you have some decisions to make: you can combine the cherry syrup with the custard before putting it into the ice cream maker to have an overall cherry-flavored ice cream, or you can begin to freeze the vanilla custard and incorporate the syrup later on to form cherry ribbons inside the vanilla ice cream. That’s the option I want- bursts of cherry flavor cushioned by a deep velvety-bourbon vanilla.

It’s very important to not add the syrup and cherries too soon, because if the ice cream isn’t firm enough, they will just sink to the bottom of the container. Anticlimactic. We want the syrup and cherries to be suspended in the ice cream, so freeze the ice cream for a good hour or two (depending on how cold you keep your freezer) or until it looks like this:

100The consistency should be slightly firmer than soft-serve but not quite hard enough to where you would need to use a lot of muscle and an ice cream scoop to handle it.

Now comes the fun part. Dump in the chilled cherries, and “fold” (or just mush) them in.


Use a spoon to make slashes through the ice cream, and drizzle the syrup on top.


    1. 104

Make a few more slashes to incorporate it into the ice cream, but be careful to not stir it too much or you will end up with pink ice cream rather than those lovely ribbons of cherry goodness we’re going for. Pop it back in the freezer for a couple of hours and you are ready to enjoy!!


Note: I didn’t use all my cherry syrup- there wasn’t enough frozen custard to warrant using it all. (though… that may have been in part due to the fact that a certain handsome man in my life kept  sneaking bites of the semi-frozen custard…)


I think next time I will double the custard recipe and then the quantity of syrup will be perfect. This time I’m saving my extra syrup to make cherry margaritas later on…


Click here for printer-friendly version: Bourbon Cherry Ice Cream

4 thoughts on “Bourbon Cherry Ice Cream

  1. Veronica

    Jenna, I miiiiiss you and I miss when you would post about your fambly and this post made me realize how much I’ve missed hearing you talk about Erica and Heidi and I miss seeing posts about you visiting them. I miss the good old days when we weren’t parents and had time for blogging. haha! (Although, I wouldn’t change it for the world and I know you wouldn’t either.) Can I request a post with more pics of Heidi & Erica and their kids? I miiiisssss them!! I get to see cute pictures and videos of Alice fairly frequently on FB but haven’t seen your sister and their kids for ages!! Oh yeah, and Erica this ice cream sounds sooo tremendoush. Much kudos to you for making it with little ones to look after!

    1. Jenna Post author

      Awww!! I know–those days of posting every day are long gone, aren’t they? =) I will try to do more–especially since we’re seeing Erica & family in Wisconsin in a couple weeks. I’ll do a post with pics at least, or something. I hope. Love ya!


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