Cherry Bourbon Compote

Cherry Bourbon Compote, Served Atop a Citrus-Soaked Butter Cake

The Spruce / Miri Rotkovitz

  • Total: 25 mins
  • Prep: 5 mins
  • Cook: 20 mins
  • Yield: 1 container (4 servings)

Incredibly simple to make, this cherry bourbon compote is also so versatile. Offer it as a spoon sweet with a dollop of honey-sweetened Greek yogurt, mascarpone, or whipped cream. Or serve it atop a simple cake, over ice cream, alongside biscotti or madeleines, or with a cheese course. You can even skip the dessert altogether, channel your inner mixologist, and drop a few cherries and a little of the syrup into a glass of sparkling wine or a cocktail.  


  • 1 pound dark cherries (fresh or frozen; pitted)
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup bourbon
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • Optional: 1-inch piece ginger (fresh; peeled and finely chopped; or about 1 tablespoon chopped)

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

  2. In a medium, nonreactive saucepan, combine the cherries, sugar, bourbon, water, honey, and ginger. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring until the sugar is dissolved. Lower the heat and simmer uncovered, stirring occasionally, for about 20 minutes, or until the cherries soften and the liquid reduces and turns syrupy. 

  3. Allow the compote to cool slightly before serving either warm or at room temperature. Compote may be made ahead and stored in a covered glass (or other nonreactive) container in the refrigerator for 3 to 4 days.

  4. Enjoy. 


If you make this citrus-soaked butter cake to serve with this compote, you will probably have leftover soaking syrup; feel free to use it in place of the honey in this recipe—the citrus notes are a nice complement to the bourbon and cherries.