How many shots is a moonshine cherry?

Moonshine cherries are a popular cocktail garnish made by soaking cherries in moonshine, a high-proof unaged whiskey. The cherries absorb the flavor and aroma of the moonshine, making them boozy, sweet, and packed with cherry flavor. But how many shots worth of moonshine does each cherry contain? Let’s take a closer look.

The amount of moonshine in each cherry depends on the recipe, cherry size, and soak time. On average, a single moonshine cherry soaked for 2 weeks contains around 1/2 shot of moonshine. For a jar of 15 medium-sized cherries, that would be around 7-8 total shots of moonshine. The longer the cherries soak, the more moonshine they will absorb.

Moonshine Cherry Recipes

There are many recipes for making moonshine cherries, but most follow these basic steps:

1. Pit fresh cherries. Bing, Ranier, and Queen Anne cherries work well.

2. Optional: Add sugar and spices like cinnamon, allspice, or vanilla to the jar. This boosts flavor.

3. Fill a clean jar with cherries and enough moonshine to cover them fully. About 2 cups moonshine per pound of cherries.

4. Seal the jar and store it in a cool, dark place for 1-4 weeks, shaking occasionally.

5. Once ready, store them in the fridge or enjoy them on cocktails!

The amount of moonshine absorbed will depend on the size and variety of the cherries, ratio of cherries to moonshine, and length of soaking time. Let’s look at how each factor impacts the results.

Cherry Size and Variety

Larger cherries have more flesh and surface area, so they tend to absorb more moonshine overall. Smaller cherries soak up less. Here’s a rough estimate for common cherry sizes:

Cherry Size Average Moonshine Absorbed
Small 1-2 teaspoons per cherry
Medium 1 tablespoon per cherry
Large 2 tablespoons per cherry

The variety also plays a role. Meatier, firmer Bing cherries tend to absorb more than softer Rainier cherries.

Moonshine to Cherry Ratio

The more moonshine the cherries are soaked in relative to their weight, the more they will absorb. A general rule of thumb is 2 cups moonshine per pound of cherries. But you can increase or decrease the ratio:

– Less moonshine = 1 cup per pound cherries – produces boozier cherries with concentrated flavor.

– More moonshine = 3 cups per pound cherries – produces lighter, subtler cherries.

Adjust the ratio to achieve your preferred flavor profile.

Soaking Time

Longer soak times result in more moonshine absorption as the flesh continues to draw in the surrounding liquid.

– 1 week soak = around 1/4 shot per medium cherry
– 2 week soak = around 1/2 shot per medium cherry
– 3-4 week soak = around 3/4 shot per medium cherry

Once they reach their max absorption, the cherries won’t soak up much more moonshine if left longer.

Putting it All Together

As a general rule for a 2-week soak:

– Small cherries absorb 1-2 teaspoons (1/8 shot)
– Medium cherries absorb 1 tablespoon (1/2 shot)
– Large cherries absorb 2 tablespoons (1 shot)

For a quart jar of 15 medium-sized cherries, soaking in a standard 2:1 moonshine to cherry ratio for 2 weeks, you’d expect around 7-8 shots worth of moonshine total.

The longer you soak and the more moonshine you use relative to the cherries, the higher the shot content will be. Play around with different ratios and times to get your preferred flavor profile. And keep in mind cherries will continue to absorb moonshine as they sit in the fridge, becoming boozier over time.

Serving and Safety Tips

Moonshine cherries pack a surprising boozy punch, so keep these serving tips in mind:

– Let people know they contain moonshine if serving on desserts or cocktails. Don’t let kids or non-drinkers eat them unknowingly.

– Start with 1 cherry as a serving until you know your tolerance. The moonshine sneaks up on you!

– Store them in the fridge to minimize additional absorption.

– Use the leftover infused moonshine in the jar for cocktails or baking. Don’t let it go to waste!

Making safe, responsible choices will let you get the most enjoyment out of your batch.

Uses for Moonshine Cherries

Moonshine cherries liven up both sweet and savory dishes. Here are some delicious ways to use them:

– Old Fashioneds or Manhattans – Drop one in as a boozy garnish.

– Whiskey Sours – Muddle one into the cocktail for a cherry kick.

– Cheese boards – Skewer with cheeses like brie or cheddar.

– Yogurt parfaits – Mix into vanilla yogurt with granola for boozy breakfast.

– Oatmeal or pancakes – Dice up to use instead of regular cherries.

– Pork or duck – Roast meats with cherries for sweetness.

– Salads – Toss on top of spinach salads for flavor and color.

– Cheesecake – Top your cheesecake slice with 1-2 cherries.

– Ice cream – Add to vanilla ice cream for an adult sundae.

Let the moonshine cherries shine in either sweet or savory dishes. Just be sure to warn people first due to the high alcohol content. Enjoy them responsibly!

Frequently Asked Questions

Here are answers to some common moonshine cherry questions:

Do they need to be refrigerated?

Yes, moonshine cherries should be stored in the refrigerator to inhibit further absorption of moonshine and prevent spoilage. The moonshine acts as a preservative, but refrigeration is still best.

How long do they last?

Properly stored in the fridge, moonshine cherries can last up to 6 months. The cherries and moonshine preserve each other. Over time, they may become softer but still edible.

Can you use maraschino cherries instead?

We don’t recommended using maraschino cherries, as they are already preserved and sweetened. For the best flavor infusion, start with fresh cherries.

What’s the best moonshine to use?

Look for an unaged, high-proof moonshine without added flavors (around 100-150 proof). This allows the pure cherry flavor to shine. Avoid lower proof or flavored spirits.

Can you eat the cherries with pits?

We recommend pitting the cherries first. The pits can impart a bitter, almond-like flavor during the soak time. Pitting allows the cherry flavor to take center stage.

Is Everclear the same as moonshine?

While Everclear isn’t technically moonshine, it has a similar high proof and neutral flavor. Feel free to use it instead if moonshine isn’t available.


Making moonshine cherries at home is easy and rewarding. Use a high 2:1 ratio of moonshine to cherries and soak for 1-4 weeks depending on your desired strength. One medium cherry soaked for 2 weeks contains about 1/2 shot of moonshine on average. Enjoy them in moderation on desserts, cocktails or savory dishes. Follow proper safety and storage to get the most out of each boozy, flavor-packed cherry.

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