This syrup was inspired by a drink at Vena's Fizz House in Portland, Maine, which is an amazing emporium of handcrafted cocktails and mocktails made with in-house syrups and bitters. Made with just a few ingredients, this is the cherry soda you've always dreamed of, with just a hint of velvety oomph from a whole vanilla bean.
Stir it into plain seltzer for a just-sweet-enough soda, or go crazy and make homemade Cherry Coke (or Pepsi, if that's your thing). You can even add a splash of bourbon or rum for a grown-up beverage.
You'll be able to supply a party's worth of homemade soda with a single batch of syrup, but should you have any left over, it also makes a great mix-in for sno cones. Just sayin'.
Cherry-Vanilla Soda Syrup
Makes 2 cups (enough for about 16 drinks)
sweet cherried, pitted and halved (about 3 cups)
vanilla bean, seeds scraped
seltzer, lemon-lime soda, Coke, or Pepsi
Stir the cherries, sugar, vanilla bean pod and its seeds, and water together in a medium high-sided saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium heat, then reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer for 30 minutes.
Strain the syrup through a fine mesh strainer into a heat-proof lidded container like a Mason jar. Cool to room temperature or refrigerate until cold.
To serve, stir 2 tablespoons syrup into each 8-ounce glass of seltzer or soda, then add more if you prefer.
Syrup can be made up to 1 week ahead. Refrigerate until ready to serve.