Are you looking for the perfect, cooling summer drink? This Fresh Cherry Limeade Recipe is it. The refreshing combo of lime and cherry will quench that thirst on a hot summer day.
What Makes This The Best Cherry Limeade Out There?
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...).
To make this even better, I use what is called a cherry reduction. This simply means I cook my cherries until the juices reduce and they form a thick, sweet syrup.
Yes, it is extra work, but I promise, it is worth it. Plus, it holds well, so make this ahead of time and it is good for WEEKS!!
Ingredients For The Fresh Cherry Limeade Recipe
- Fresh Cherries- Many recipes call for maraschino cherries, but this recipe uses fresh. It is so much better!!
- Lime- you can't have a good limeade without fresh limes.
- Granulated Sugar- You can test other sweeteners you might prefer, but this is one of those recipes I love granulated sugar for.
- 7-up or seltzer water- You can also make the drink without the carbonation, but it is really good with it! I used 7-up in this recipe, but I also really like seltzer waters as well.
How To Make The Fresh Cherry Limeade
- Start by making your simple syrup. I see a lot of recipes where they just add in granulated sugar. I will explain below why the simple syrup is the sweetener you need.
- Once this is made, let's start on the cherry reduction.
- Wash and pit your cherries.
- Add your cherries to a pan with water. Bring to a boil and cook until the juices are released and cherries are softened.
- Strain the cherries, making sure to press through the strainer to get all the juices.
- Add the juice back in with sugar. Then cook on low until the syrup is slightly thickened and reduced.
- Set it aside to cool.
- Juice your limes and mix with the simple syrup.
- That is it, the hard work it done!
- Combine the simple syrup, cherry reduction, and carbonation.
- Now, sit back and enjoy. You deserve it!
Notes For The Cherry Limeade
- I use simple syrups, as explained below. They are always the base for my drinks, and I will explain why.
- You can use sweet or tart cherries for this recipe. I love the intense flavor of tart cherries, but if all you have is sweet, use them.
- All the components for this drink can be made ahead of time, up to 5 days ahead of time. Then you simply mix when you are ready.
- I love to add a little carbonation to my drinks. This can be done with 7-up, as mentioned above. Or you can use sparkling water if you prefer.
Why Use Simple Syrup?
I always make my flavored drinks with simple syrup. I know it takes a little extra time, but it is worth it not to have the gritty sugar in your drink. It will be the base of this 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 it aside.
The best way to get an intense, but the smooth cherry flavor is with a reduction.
What is a reduction? It is basically fruit juices that have been cooked down and reduced, intensifying the flavors.
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 medium heat for about 7-10 minutes. Your syrup should be a nice red color at that point.
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. Mix and cook on medium again. Stir occasionally.
Assembling The Fresh Cherry Limeade Recipe
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 the 2 cup mason jar, I used ⅓ cup lime simple syrup, 1 ¼ cup ice water, and 4 tablespoons the cherry reduction. For my son, who loves soda, I did ⅓ cup syrup, 1 ¼ 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.
Other Summer Drink Ideas
Looking for another cold drink idea? How about these ideas!
- Have you ever tried rhubarb lemonade? If not, you need to!
- Classic Fresh Lemonade is my favorite drink in the summer months.
- I also love this Blueberry Lemonade. It is a fun twist on the classic.
- What about a Virgin Sangria?
- Floats are also a big deal in our house, how about this cherry vanilla float?
- Or a Blueberry Lemon Float?
- If Aqua Fresca is a drink you love, you have got to try this Pineapple Strawberry Aqua Fresca!
Lime simple syrup
- 1 cup water
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 cup fresh squeezed lime juice
- 1 cup cherries
- ¾ cup water
- ¼ cup sugar
- lime simple syrup, listed above
- cherry reduction, also listed above
- 6 cups ice water
- 7-up optional
- Add water and sugar to pan, heat over medium. Mix occasionally. You will only want to heat this until the sugar dissolves. I like to cook my cherry reduction the same time I am cooking the simple syrup. If it stresses you out to have multiple things going at once, only do one at a time!Remove from heat and cool slightly. Stir in lime juice and set aside. This can be made up to 4 days in advance. Simply store in an airtight container in the fridge.
- Pit cherries or cut in half like I did. You don't have to do this, but it will speed up your cooking time. Don't worry about removing the seeds, they will be strained later. Add the cherries and the water to pan. Bring to a boil over medium heat. Continue to boil at least 7-10 minutes. You want as much of the cherry flavor in the syrup as you can. The cherries should be good and soft and the water a nice red color. Now, strain through a fine mesh strainer, pressing the cherries though. You want as much of the cherry flavor through as possible. So, strain the pulp through. Return the syrup to the pan and add the sugar. Mix and turn on medium heat. Now, we are reducing the syrup. Cook, stirring occasionally for about 7-10 minutes. Your syrup will reduce down. If you continue to cook, it will start to thicken as well. I didn't cook mine to that point, but it is delicious if you do!Set aside and allow to cool slightly. This can be made up to 3 days in advance if you need to simplify, or just keep it in stock. Simply store covered in the fridge.
Assembling the cherry limeade
- Now, it's to assemble. Remember these are my measurements, you may want more or less of each, but we will start here. I like to pour in my ice water first. Per 2 cup mason jar, I use 1 ¼ cup ice water, ⅓ cup lime simple syrup, and ¼ cup cherry reduction.If you are making it with 7-up, I used 1 ¼ cup 7-up, ⅓ cup simple syrup and ¼ cup cherry reduction.Now, again, make adjustments for personal preference as needed. Good work on a hot summer day! Sit back and enjoy. You deserve it!