There is a well-known Mark Twain quote about the mercurial nature of New England weather: “If you don't like the weather in New England...wait a few minutes”. This year, I think you could easily extrapolate it to our change of seasons. After a particularly brutal (and ridiculously snowy) winter, followed by a short, blustery, non-spring, we woke up one morning and...KABLAM! Summer had arrived! Flower blossoms bursting, heat, humidity; the change was so fast, there was barely a day between woolen sweaters and summer shorts.
The upcoming summertime heat calls for lots of cool treats. Generally speaking, we are a popsicle-and-chilled-watermelon sort of family, but on really hot days, I start to crave a drink of my childhood. During the hottest part of the summer, my Mum would take my siblings and me on walks to the nearest Brigham's Ice Cream Parlor (a Boston staple) to beat the heat with hot fudge sundaes (whipped cream for the kids, and marshmallow for her) and raspberry lime rickeys. Stealing sweetly tart sips between bites of fudge, those sticky afternoons have stayed with me.
Now that cherry season is in full swing, I thought a variation of that classic drink recipe would be just as refreshing as the original. Sweet cherries & homemade cherry syrup are stirred together with bright lime juice and club soda. Easy, simple, and non-alcoholic, it's perfect for sipping on the porch while enjoying a sunny day.
Pssst... if you do want to make it a little more 'refreshing', adding 1 ounce of Hendrick's Gin to 8 ounces of my Cherry-Lime Rickey is divine!
makes two 8 ounce drinks (or one very large 16 ounce drink! Mmmm!)
6 fresh cherries, pitted and roughly chopped
2 ounces fresh lime juice
2 ounces cherry infused simple syrup *see below*
chilled club soda
In a cocktail shaker or large glass, muddle together the fresh cherries and lime juice.
Next, fill 2 good sized tumbler glasses (or one very large glass, if a single serving) with ice, and place a small sieve on top.
Strain the lime & cherry mix into the glass, and discard the cherry remnants. (We tried keeping them, but they always plug up the straw, and make drinking a challenge.)
Now, add the cherry simple syrup and top with the club soda.
Stir gently, and garnish with a lime round or a cherry.
This drink benefits from resting for a few minutes before enjoying.
Cherry Infused Simple Syrup
1 cup of granulated white sugar
1 cup of water
20 fresh cherries, pitted
Combine all of the ingredients into a medium saucepan and give it a quick stir.
Place over medium-high heat and allow to come to a low (small bubbles) simmer, while stirring occasionally.
Once at a simmer, cook for 8-10 minutes, until all the sugar has dissolved and the cherries have softened.
Remove from the heat and let stand five minutes.
Next, smash the cherries in the pan with a potato masher and then strain over a sieve set over a medium sized bowl.
Allow to cool completely. Transfer to a covered container (I like using an old jam jar) and chill.
Keeps for 7-10 days.