I’ve always had a soft spot for Cherry Limeade. It’s a delicious combination of sweet and tart, and I’m a sucker for that vibrant pink color every time! The problem with many cherry limeades is that they aren’t made with fresh juices, so you get an artificial cherry flavor instead of an authentic one. I don’t mind artificial cherry flavor in a piece of candy, but I don’t want it in my cherry limeade when real cherry juice is so much more flavorful.
My recipe uses just three ingredients (four, if you count water) – lime juice, cherry juice and sugar – and the fresh juices make a huge difference in the finished limeade. Lime juice tastes both more sour and more acidic than lemon juice, so I find that I need to be generous with the sweetener in a drink like this one. Instead of stirring in sugar, I used simple syrup to sweeten things up. I’ve given a basic recipe for simple syrup below. It’s a great tool to keep in your refrigerator because it allows you to sweeten all kinds of drinks, both hot and cold. The amount given in the cherry limeade below makes for a wonderfully sweet-tart drink with a bright cherry flavor. If you like yours a little bit sweeter, feel free to add in some extra simple syrup. The limemade is meant to be served over ice, but should still be chilled before serving.
Use real cherry juice for this recipe. It can be fresh cherry juice or cherry juice that is made from concentrate, but choose a cherry juice that doesn’t have any added sweeteners or other fruit juices in it. Cherry juice is generally classified by the type of cherry. Tart cherries are popular both for juices and for baking, but they’re not necessarily that “tart” and are a great choice for this particular recipe. I try to use equal parts lime juice and cherry juice for a nice balance of lime and cherry in each sip, then serve up each glass with plenty of ice and a wedge of lime as garnish.
If you happen to lean towards lemonade instead of limemade, you can make this recipe by substituting the lime juice for lemon juice. Add the simple syrup in gradually, as you may need a bit less with lemons instead of limes. Either way, this will be a summer staple!
Homemade Cherry Limeade
1 1/4 cups lime juice
1 1/2 cups water
1 1/4 cups simple syrup
1 1/4 cups cherry juice
In a large pitcher, combine lime juice, water, simple syrup and cherry juice. Stir to combine and chill for at least 1 hour, or until ready to serve.
Recipe can be doubled, as needed.
Makes 5 cups; approx 6-servings.
1 cup sugar
1 cup water
In a small saucepan, combine sugars and water. Bring to a boil, stirring occasionally to dissolve the sugar. Boil for 1 minute, then remove from heat and allow the syrup to cool to room temperature. Store in the refrigerator.
Makes approximately 1 1/2 cups