This is a cocktail for those who enjoy imbibing in something sweet and fruity. It was born out of my need to use up some cherries that had been forgotten in the back of my refrigerator. They weren’t bad, but they were a little wrinkly and past their prime. I made a cherry simple syrup with them.

I could see multiplying this recipe, leaving the club soda out, and making a large pitcher. Then when someone wants a cocktail, all you have to do is add ice to a glass, pour the mixture from the pitcher, and top with club soda.

I used vodka, but you could just as easily use gin, depending on your personal taste or what you have on hand. I also think substituting lime for the lemon and using a lime-flavored club soda would yield good results.

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Total Time: 5 minutes

Yields: 1 serving

Drunken Cherry Lemonade

Ingredients for drink

  • 1 1/2 ounces cherry simple syrup (see instructions below)
  • 1 1/2 ounces fresh squeezed lemon
  • 2 ounces vodka or gin
  • Lemon-flavored club soda
  • Fresh cherries for garnish (optional)

Directions

  1. Fill a tall glass* 2/3 full with ice.
  2. Add simple syrup, lemon juice and vodka or gin.
  3. Stir.
  4. Top with club soda.
  5. Add a cherry or two for garnish, if desired.

* Lately, instead of using a tall glass, I’ve been using my large crystal water goblets for cocktails like this. They usually only come out at Thanksgiving, so it’s a way to make them more useful and make the drinks a little fancier. But, a drink like this could just as easily be made in a Mason jar as it can be in a crystal water goblet. Use what you have. Have fun with it.

Cherry simple syrup

You can flavor simple syrup with just about any fruit, herb or spice you want. It’s a great way to use fruit that's gone a little soft or herbs that are starting to wilt. I always end up playing with simple syrups in cocktails, but adding an ounce to plain club soda is a great way to flavor it without adding too much sugar or too many calories.

Ingredients for cherry simple syrup

  • 1 cup water
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 25 pitted fresh cherries

Directions

  1. In a saucepan, pour all ingredients. Mash the cherries a bit with a potato masher or the back of a heavy wooden spoon.
  2. Bring to a boil. Reduce the heat.
  3. When all of the sugar has dissolved, turn the heat off.
  4. Mash the cherries a little more.
  5. Put a lid on the saucepan and allow to cool at least one hour.
  6. Strain the cherries out and put in a clean, glass jar with a lid.
  7. Store in the refrigerator for about a week.

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Robin Shreeves ( @rshreeves ) focuses on food from a family perspective from her home base in New Jersey.