Summertime cookouts … all the wonderful memories of childhood balmy days and nights spent with friends and family. I love barbecuing food and planning what else to serve with them. Today I am sharing Fresh Fruit Salad with Bourbon-Orange Syrup, my new absolute favorite side all summer long!!
Playing off the flavors in an Old Fashioned, my cookbook co-author Shannon’s favorite cocktail, this is an adult version of a simple fruit salad, elevating it to a side dish that may become the star of your next cookout!
The bourbon adds caramel notes to the orange syrup that enhances the natural flavors of the fruits. You can use any fruit that is in season. Today I used cantaloupe and honeydew melons, blueberries, and fresh cherries – one look at my fingers and you know that I pitted them by hand!
I know you hear this a lot all over the Internet, but this syrup is seriously delicious. It is so good that I was sneaking spoons of it when The Artist wasn’t looking, LOL. Yep, it is That good! I am going to pour the leftovers over a bowl of vanilla ice cream tomorrow – and I cannot wait!!
When I went to the store to pick up the fruit for the salad, the only oranges our market had were blood oranges – so beautiful. Instead of a lovely light orange syrup, I wound up with a stunning ruby gold color. Both are equally tasty, so you can use whatever oranges are available in your area.
This is one fruit salad that will thrill your adult guests. If you are making this for children, just leave out the bourbon. It is delicious both ways! Because you cook it for so long at a low boil, you have cooked all the alcohol out of the sauce but your children may not appreciate the flavor of the bourbon.
This salad will go with any summertime meal, but if you are serving a crowd of bourbon lovers, especially if you are grilling over smoke and using a bourbon BBQ sauce, then this side dish is the perfect accompaniment! But don’t limit it to the summer, it is good all year long, using whatever fruits are in season. And don’t forget that you can macerate dried fruits and include them too.
Today’s recipe is part of our latest edition of Progressive Eats, our virtual version of a progressive dinner party where you can hop from blog to blog to check out all of our recipes. This month’s theme is Summer Cookouts! hosted by Jenni of Online Pastry Chef. You’ll love the recipes we have gathered, perfect for all your summer outdoor entertaining! Make sure you check out the links below the recipe.
Jane’s Tips and Hints:
If you want a stronger bourbon flavor, you can add 1/4 cup, just cook it down a little longer to a thin syrup. It will continue to thicken as it cools.
Either leave out the bourbon or use the alternative option if you are serving anyone with celiac or severe reactions to gluten. While the distillation process destroys gluten, some producers use caramel coloring which often contains gluten. If you are in doubt, always make the safer choice.
- Bourbon-Orange Syrup
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 1 cup water
- Zest and juice from 1 Naval or 2 small oranges
- 2 tbsp bourbon (or use 2 tbsp potato vodka + 2 tsp brown sugar for gluten-free)
- 2 tsp vanilla paste or pure extract
- Fruit Salad
- 8 to 10 pints mixed fresh fruits, such as strawberries, blueberries, grapes, cantaloupe, honeydew, watermelon, cherries, peaches, etc.
- Make the Syrup: Place the sugar, water, orange zest, juice, and bourbon in a small saucepan, whisking to combine. Bring to a boil, then turn the heat down to medium-low to a low boil/strong simmer and cook for 15 to 20 to thicken slightly. Set aside to cool, then store, covered, in the fridge until cold. The syrup can be made a day or two in advance.
- Assemble the Salad: Rinse fruit well and if needed, prepare them. Hull and halve strawberries, cut grapes in half, pit cherries, cut melons into bite-sized cubes, etc. Toss all the fruit together in a large bowl.
- Pour a little of the syrup into each small serving bowl, top with some of the salad and serve. Instruct your guests to toss their own carefully in the bowls. Do not dish the salads until just before serving.
- Store leftover fruit and syrup separately in airtight containers in the refrigerator for up to several days.
- Yield: 10 to 12 servings
This recipe is part of our monthly progressive dinner party, Progressive Eats. See the links below for more inspiration and great recipes!
- Loaded Baked Potatoes from The Redhead Baker
- Indian Grilled Corn on the Cob – Street Style Bhutta from Spice Roots
- Blue Cheese Bison Burger with Bacon Caramelized Onions from Creative Culinary
- Fresh Fruit Salad with Bourbon-Orange Syrup (Gluten-Free) from The Heritage Cook
- Homemade Baked Beans from Food Hunter’s Guide
- Blueberry Peach Pandowdy from Pastry Chef Online
- Rustic Berry Turnovers from That Skinny Chick Can Bake
- Rum-Glazed Grilled Bananas from Mother Would Know
Create a New Tradition Today!
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