My friend Lacy (and fellow DIR contributor) started posting (bragging) about a large cherry tree in her backyard, and then, of course, came the pictures of the mini cherry pies she’d made with her son.
I more or less publicly begged for her to share. And she did! Then two nights later she invited my family over to climb that cherry tree and pick some of our own. We took her up on the offer and left her backyard two hours later with two gallons of fresh picked cherries. Score!
Too hot to bake, and not really sure what else to do with these little ruby-like gems, thirst became my muse. An ordinary cherry limeade wouldn’t do though. I’m a “foodie” after all. I took this cherry limeade to the next level.
What this fizzy cherry limeade needed was a little heat, something to literally spice up the classic. Jalapenos were the fix.
I’ve become a pretty big fan of peppers in my cocktails. This Raspberry Serrano Sangria was my go-to drink of summer 2012. And while I’m not much for drinking liquor, The Smash at Public in Wichita, Kansas is officially my favorite cocktail – a twist on the whiskey sour with plenty of fresh jalapenos inside. The spice seems to let the sweetness of the drinks shine a little brighter, while there’s an intoxicating bite at the end of each sip.
It’s like that high you get when you can’t make yourself stop eating Hot Tamales. Only no where near as terrible for you.
The most work you’ll have to put in to this recipe is pitting the cherries, but we promise the effort is totally worth it when that first sweet and spicy, bubbly sip hits your mouth. Make sure all the juice that pools in the cherries as you’re pitting transfers to the glass.
After the cherries, limes are the centerpiece of this artful beverage. I enjoy the task of hand-squeezing, and I love the fragrance that fresh-squeezed limes will fill a room with.
The cherries certainly make this drink sweet, but not sweet enough for my liking. I used raw turbinado sugar to make the simple syrup in this recipe. Turbinado sugar is just sweet enough for me, not overwhelmingly so like white sugar. It also saves about 50 calories per cup. Because of the minimal way in which turbinado sugar is processed, it retains less water resulting in a reduction in calories. Not to worry, the coarser sugar crystals will melt down in to a simple syrup like any other sugar.
Upon adding the whole cherries, with their juices, the syrup, and the lime juice, it’s time to add that jalapeno. Muddle it around with the cherries a bit, leaving the seeds in if you like, to really draw out its essences and allow its warm flavors to meld with the rest of the juice.
Then, the fun part! Pour in the bubbles! Drench the ingredients in club soda for a delightful taste experience.
Top with ice and serve.
Fizzy Jalapeno Cherry Limeades
1/2 cup raw turbinado sugar
1 cup hot water
Juice of 5 limes (about 1/2 cup)
2 slices fresh jalapeño
1 cup fresh cherries, pitted
1 cup club soda
1 cup ice cubes
1. Make a simple syrup by stirring sugar in to hot water until dissolved. Set aside to cool.
2. In each glass: Pour half of the lime juice, stir in 1/4 cup simple syrup. Add the cherries and jalapeños, then muddle everything together*. Top off with ice cubes and then pour in the club soda. Stir to combine.
3. Taste and adjust sweetness/tartness as needed by adding more syrup or extra lime juice.
*Note: We left the whole cherries in our limeade, but feel free to strain for a “pulp-free” beverage.
Can’t see video? Watch the Fizzy Jalapeno Cherry Limeade video here.
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Recipe by Dana Shultz and Brandi Koskie; Images by Kacy Meinecke
July 15th, 2013