Cherry Gin Slings

While making last week's Cherry Almond Coffee Cake, I found myself staring at about a cup of cherry juice, formerly home to a big beautiful jar of morello cherries. My brain was saying "just pour it down the drain," but the little angel with a cherry-lined halo on my shoulder whispering "Are you kidding?! Make cherry syrup!" won out.

I simply simmered the juice (it came slightly sweetened) in a saucepan over medium heat until it thickened, about 10 minutes, and then let it cool in a mason jar. If you have fresh cherries, you could chop up a cup of them, add a little water and sugar, and cook them down, straining out the solids at the end.

And I'm glad. So far I've made these cocktails and drizzled the syrup over buttery pancakes, and I have more in the fridge awaiting its fate. No regrets.

Now, I would never order a cherry cocktail at a bar, because it would be sure to include some sort of Kirsch or Maraschino liqueur, which I truly can't stand. (I can barely tolerate the uber-elegant Luxardo cherry in my Manhattans as they're soaked in the stuff.) But have no fear, fellow maraschino-haters, as this syrup gives just enough tartness and sweetness to evoke yummy memories of cherry pie.

(That being said, if you're into Kirsch, splash some in!)

You could also easily make this fruity, refreshing sling with grenadine in place of the homemade syrup (assuming you listened to your brain and threw away the cherry juice).

Cherry Gin Slings
makes 2 cocktails
  • 4 oz gin
  • 1.5 oz tart cherry syrup
  • 1.5 oz triple sec or cointreau
  • 2 oz fresh lime juice
  • 2 dashes angostura bitters
  • Ice
  • Club soda
  • Mint (to garnish)
Combine gin, syrup, triple sec, lime juice, and bitters in a cocktail shaker over ice. Shake to combine; strain into ice-filled glasses. 

Top with 3oz of club soda in each glass. Garnish with a couple mint leaves per glass.

{Tart Cherry Syrup}

In a small saucepan over medium heat, simmer 1 cup reserved juice from a 21oz can or 24oz jar of tart cherries until slightly thickened. Pour into a glass jar and cool to reserve temperature; store in the refrigerator.