This week I was all set to share a spicy cocktail recipe, but then I came upon the sweetest bunch of cherries at the market. You know the saying, "When life gives you lemons, make lemonade." So when life gave me cherries I made a cherry-infused cocktail for this week's 10-Minute Happy Hour!
I love cherry pie, but making pie dough was no where near my to-do list this week. Instead, I went to the shaker, or shall I say jam jars, for some drink inspiration. Jam jars are my preferred drinking vessel once the weather warms up and since we went from 30°F to 90°F this week, it was the perfect time to ditch the fancy stemware for more durable — and not to mention portable! — cocktail couture.
Jam jars do double duty as glassware and shaker, making for less clean up and charming (not girly) cocktails. I mentioned how cherry pie is a sweet spot for me, but when it comes to a summery sip, I prefer less sweet, more refreshing drinks. The sour is a perfect pick.
It's easy to make cherry simple syrup, and yes, you can still do it in less than ten minutes, with a quick chill over an ice bath. In a pinch you can even substitute maraschino cherry syrup, but — you know the drill! — as with most ingredients, making it fresh with ripe, in season berries will definitely make a tastier toast.
So grab your cherry pitter and jam jars, and toast the weekend with an ice cold Cherry Sour.
Sweet & Sour Cherry Sparkler
freshly squeezed lemon juice
room temperature cherry simple syrup (recipe below)
Fresh basil for garnish
In a small jam jar filled with ice, add the vodka, lemon juice and cherry simple syrup. Place the lid on tightly and shake. Remove the lid and fill with club soda.
Garnish with fresh cherries and basil, and enjoy.
If you are a flavored vodka drinker you may substitute vanilla, cherry, or whipped cream vodka in place of the traditional for a slightly sweeter cocktail.
Cherry Simple Syrup
ripe cherries, pitted
In a small saucepan heat the water, sugar, and cherries until the sugar has completely melted. Using a potato masher, smash the cherries. Strain through a fine mesh strainer and cool over an ice bath.
(Images: Maureen Petrosky)