Bourbon-Cherry Lemonade

I decided to try this recipe for hard lemonade. I don't normally imbibe in liquor (except for a nip of Maker's Mark every now and again) but this sounded too good to pass up. I had all the ingredients, it just entailed waiting a couple of days for the cherries to "marinate" in the bourbon. I 'marinated' more than I needed. I enjoyed sharing them with family and seeing the surprise when they discovered they'd received a cherry bomb or more accurately, what seemed to be a shot of whiskey contained in one little cherry.

Bourbon-Cherry Lemonade (from www.tastingtable.com)

Yield: 4 cocktails

Cook Time:2 days for the cherries; 15 minutes to assemble
INGREDIENTS

4 cups Bing cherries--washed, stems removed and pitted (2 pints)

2 cups high-quality bourbon

1 vanilla bean, split and scraped (reserve pod for another use or discard)

1½ cups freshly squeezed lemon juice (from about 8 medium lemons)

1 tablespoon lemon zest (from about 1 medium lemon)

1½ cups simple syrup (made with equal parts sugar and water)

Sparkling water

DIRECTIONS
1. In a large container with a tight-fitting lid, combine the cherries, bourbon and vanilla. Cover and refrigerate for at least 2 days.

2. To make the cocktail: In a pitcher, stir together the lemon juice, lemon zest, ¾ cup of the prepared bourbon-cherry juice, reserving the cherries, and the simple syrup. Pour into individual glasses, top with sparkling water, garnish with reserved cherries and serve immediately.

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