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 Orange Bourbon Syrup, my new absolute favorite side dish all year 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 when looking at recipes on blogs, but this syrup is seriously delicious. It is so good that I was sneaking sips of it when The Artist wasn’t looking, LOL. Yep, it is that good! I am going to pour the leftover syrup 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. Because you cook it 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. The syrup and salad are delicious both ways!
This salad will go with any summertime meal, but if you are serving a crowd of bourbon lovers, then this is the perfect accompaniment! But don’t limit it to the summer, this Fruit Salad with Orange Bourbon Syrup is good all year long, using whatever fruits are in season. And don’t forget that you can steep dried fruits in hot liquid 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.
Did you like this recipe? Let me know in the comments, I love hearing from you!
Key Ingredients for Fruit Salad with Orange Bourbon Syrup:
- Sugar, orange zest and juice, bourbon
- Mixed chopped fruits
If you want to avoid a lot of knife work, head to the produce section of your grocery store or the salad bar. Both areas are likely to have containers of chopped fruits or as options on the salad bar.
What kind of fruit should I use in this salad?
Anything you like that is in-season will work! I like strawberries, melons, blueberries, oranges, grapes, cherries, peaches, etc.
If you want a stronger bourbon flavor, you can double it to 1/4 cup, just increase the cook time to get it to a thin syrup. It will continue to thicken as it cools.
How to make Fruit Salad with Orange Bourbon Syrup:
- Bring the sugar, water, orange zest and juice, and bourbon to a boil then reduce to a strong simmer and cook down to a light, thin syrup; let cool
- Cut the fruits into bite-sized cubes and place in a large bowl
- Drizzle fruit with some of the syrup and toss together; serve with extra sauce to pass
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If you are serving anyone with Celiac or severe reactions to gluten either leave out the bourbon or use the alternative vodka option. While the distillation process destroys gluten making distilled spirits safe, some producers may use caramel coloring which can contain gluten. If you are in doubt, always take the safer route.
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 1 cup water
- Zest and juice from 1 Naval or 2 small oranges
- 2 tbsp bourbon, or for gluten-free, use 2 tbsp potato vodka + 2 tsp brown sugar
- 8 to 10 pints of bite-sized pieces of mixed fresh, ripe fruits, such as strawberries, blueberries, grapes, cantaloupe, honeydew, watermelon, cherries, peaches, oranges, 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 until reduced and thickened slightly. It should coat the back of a spoon. Set aside to cool, then store, covered, in the fridge until cold. The syrup will thicken more as it cools and can be made a day or two in advance.
- Assemble the Salad: Rinse the fruit well and prep … de-stem and halve strawberries, cut grapes in half, pit cherries, cut melons into bite-sized cubes, segment oranges, etc. Toss all the fruit together in a large bowl with a little of the cooled syrup.
- Scoop some fruit into each small serving bowl, top with some of the syrup and serve. Pass additional syrup at the table if desired.
- Store any leftover fruit and syrup separately in airtight containers in the refrigerator for several days.
- Recipe Source: The Heritage Cook
Adapted from a Pioneer Woman recipe
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 186Total Fat: 0gSaturated Fat: 0gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 0gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 41mgCarbohydrates: 44gFiber: 3gSugar: 39gProtein: 2g
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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 Orange Bourbon Syrup (Gluten-Free) from The Heritage Cook (you are here)
- 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!