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Black Cherry Champagne Floats

black cherry champagne floats |

September weather can be temperamental, but she’s mellowed out here in the last half of the month, and we’ve been enjoying some truly gorgeous days. While it’s still not too cold for ice cream — or, actually, is it ever too cold for ice cream? While shoveling the driveway, maybe, but I’m happy to enjoy a sundae in front of the fire, deep in the heart of January — I wanted to share this little dessert treat, Black Cherry Champagne Floats, made with cherries, cherry liqueur, vanilla bean ice cream and, of course, Champagne. It’s sweet and bubbly and delightful, and a lovely way to send off the Indian summer and its still-sunlit evenings.

black cherry champagne floats |

I have a confession to make: I hated cherries for the longest time. Or, rather, I thought I hated cherries. I discovered — sadly, not until my late twenties — that fresh cherries and maraschino cherries were not the same thing. Like, at all.

Turns out, it’s maraschino cherries that made me shudder and cringe. I avoided fresh cherries like the plague, assuming they shared the same flavor and off-putting bite. The ah-ha moment came at a super-fancy corporate lunch, where rejecting the dish placed before me — some kind of crepe with a cream filling and sliced, fresh, cherries everywhereomg — would’ve been noticeable and awkward (hey, I was young and ambitious. Now, I would just take a cue from kids everywhere and busily push the offending food around the plate with a fork, without taking so much as a nibble).

But, I took one polite, extremely tentative bite … and angels sang and puppies frolicked and the cloudy day suddenly turned sunny.

Me and fresh cherries have been BFFs ever since (although that January sundae will never be topped with a maraschino cherry [cringe]). Is there a better treat than a bowl full of plump, tie-dyed Rainier cherries, in season? I think not.

Black cherry champagne floats |

For my cherry champagne floats, I used fresh bing cherries, fine-quality cherry liqueur (hello, future Singapore Slings), a small bottle of Champagne, and vanilla bean ice cream. Chill the liquids thoroughly beforehand to prevent them from melting the ice cream too quickly.

Serve in tall float glasses with a straw and a spoon, to get every last drop.

Karen xo

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Black Cherry Champagne Floats

For a colorful result, make sure you use a cherry liqueur eau de vie (which is normally red) and not kirschwasser, which is clear. The amount of ice cream and Champagne will depend on the size and volume of your glasses, so use the amounts listed as a guideline, scaling up or down as needed. Chill the liqueur and Champagne thoroughly beforehand so the ice cream doesn't melt too quickly.
Prep Time10 mins
Total Time10 mins
Servings: 2
Author: Karen Gibson


  • 12 cherries stems removed and pitted, slices into quarters
  • 6 teaspoons cherry liqueur
  • 1 pint vanilla bean ice cream
  • 4 to 6 cups champagne


  • Slice the cherries into quarters, and add 24 quarters to the bottom of one glass.
  • Pour 2 teaspoons of cherry liqueur over the cherries.
  • Gentle drop one large scoop of ice cream over the cherries and liqueur.
  • Drizzle 1 teaspoon of cherry liqueur over the scoop of ice cream.
  • Add two to four more scoops of ice cream to the glass, until the ice cream reaches the rim.
  • Pour Champagne over the ice cream.
  • Repeat with the second glass.
  • Serve with a straw and a long handled spoon to scoop up the liqueur-infused cherries.
Nutritional information, if shown, is provided as a courtesy only, and is not to be taken as medical information or advice. The nutritional values of your preparation of this recipe are impacted by several factors, including, but not limited to, the ingredient brands you use, any substitutions or measurement changes you make, and measuring accuracy.


Recipe Rating

Rocky Mountain Woman

Friday 27th of September 2013

I am trying to hold on to summer with all my might, so these are definitely on the menu for the weekend...


Wednesday 25th of September 2013

Now this is my kind of drink!! I could totally just sit back with one of these and let the day pass me by!! ;)


Wednesday 25th of September 2013

Thanks! I hope you'll get a chance to try it sometime. :)


Wednesday 25th of September 2013

"My favorite flavor, cherry red." I am all over the cherries and spent most of my time in Oregon hunting the elusive but delicious cherry cider. This sounds great and there's a homemade batch of Jeni's vanilla in the freezer as we speak. Is there a liqueur brand you recommend?


Wednesday 25th of September 2013

I was sorely tempted by the Grand Marnier Natural Cherry Liqueur, but ended up going with the well-regarded Clear Creek brand. Heering will probably be easiest to find. I might have to go back for the Grand Marnier, though ... not that I use that much cherry liqueur, but Grand Marnier + cherries gives me dreamy visions of cherry millionaire margaritas.