Cherry Limeade=summertime. Cherries have such a short season and shelf life, you really need to use them as often as you are able. This drink is a perfect way to use them. It is great for a hot summer day.
What makes this drink different than the others out there? This one actually uses fresh cherries instead of maraschino cherries (I hate those. No offense if you love them, I just can’t even…). So, start with fresh limes and cherries.
Although there are extra steps in this recipe than you might be used to in your other drinks recipes, the ingredients are pretty basic. Fresh limes, cherries, sugar, water and 7-up if you are using it. That’s it, 4-5 ingredients.
I always make my flavored drinks with a simple syrup. I know it takes a little extra time, but it is worth it not to have the gritty sugar in your drink. My simple syrup is 1:1. Which is 1 cup of sugar to 1 cup water. Set this to boil on medium and start prepping the rest. Only cook the simple syrup until the sugar has dissolved. Turn off the heat and set aside.
Next up is your cherry reduction. I do this to intensify the flavors. A reduction is just like it sounds, a reduction. This is basically reduced cherry juice.
I start by cutting the cherries in half. This step isn’t absolutely necessary, but helps to speed up the process. If left uncut, the cherries will burst eventually releasing their liquids, but as these are cut, they are releasing it right away. Now, don’t worry about seeds as this all gets strained at the end anyway.
Once they are cut in half, twist apart. Throw all the cherries in your saucepan. It is important to use a thick bottom pan for this, as the sweetened syrup can burn on the bottom.
Bring to a boil and allow to cook this way over the medium heat for about 7-10 minutes. Your syrup should be a nice red color at that point.
While it is cooking, start juicing your limes. If you are fortunate enough to have a juicer, this will be done in no time. If you only have a hand one, like I did, it will take awhile. Now, you are going to use a lot of limes, so make sure you have plenty on hand. I used 10.
The syrup should be ready now, so go ahead and strain through a fine mesh strainer. Add the lime juice to the slightly cooled simple syrup.
Make sure and push all the cherry through you can.
Now, you have made your syrup, on to the reduction. Add the syrup back to the pan and add in your sugar. Be mindful the syrup will sweeten as it thickens, so don’t over sweeten at the beginning. Mix and cook on medium again. You can stir occasionally, but it really should be okay to cook for awhile.
I let mine cook about 7 minutes. It reduced down to about 1 cup. You can cook it down even further if you want, it will thicken as you do.
You are done! Now, time to assemble. This is the easiest part. I will give you my measurements, but you are free to mix it up a bit if you prefer.
For 2 cup mason jar, I used 1/3 cup lime simple syrup, 1 1/4 cup ice water and 4 tablespoons the cherry reduction. For my son’s, who loves soda, I did 1/3 cup syrup, 1 1/4 cup 7-up, and 4 tablespoons cherry reduction. This is really sweet, but he loves it.
Start with the water.
Next, add in the simple syrup.
Last is the cherry reduction.
Now, on the sparkling cherry limeade, start with the 7-up.
The lime simple syrup is up next.
Then add in your beautiful cherry syrup.
Aren’t these the prettiest drinks?? Cherry limeade is the most beautiful color!
Top with more fresh cherries and a slice of lime.
Looking for another cold drink idea? How about this rhubarb lemonade?