This past Friday Whole Foods had a one day sale on cherries which was awesome since they are usually pretty pricey. I obviously picked up a few pounds since the price was so good. I’m pretty confident that the whole foodie blogosphere will be inundated with cherry recipes this week and I am just going to contribute to it anyway. It took me a really long time to figure out what I wanted to do with all of the cherries but I knew I had to act fast. 1. Because they don’t have a super long shelf life. 2. My husband would eat them all before I got to make anything. I tossed around the idea of making a pie but then I realized that sounded absolutely disastrous. I can’t even successfully make a gluten filled pie and figured that a grain free one would be much more difficult. I thought about cherry ice cream, compote, relish, waffles…the list goes on. Finally I just texted my sister and asked her what I should make and she said cherry limeade. That was the first idea that actually sounded fun to me so that’s what I went with. I also don’t have very many drink recipes on the blog so thought this would be a great summer treat.
I have a sweet friend who makes a killer strawberry basil lemonade and it has always been one of my favorite drinks. So I decided to take some of my fresh basil and steep it with the cherry and lime to give it a unique and memorable flavor. I used my juicer for this recipe because I knew it would cut my time in half making it. However, I will put instructions for how to do it with a blender. I pitted all my cherries before juicing them (I would recommend wearing gloves). I do not have a cherry pitter so I made a make-shift one. I used one of my metal straws I use for food props. I placed the straw on the bottom of the cherry and pushed up. Most of the time it worked and the pit came right out. However, there were some stubborn ones. I’m sure there are much better ways to do that so I am open to any suggestions you all might have.
This recipe is a concentrate that you can add to club soda/sparkling water. I really like Q water. If you haven’t tried it I would recommend it. It contains Himalayan sea salt which gives it a much more unique flavor and other nutrients. The nice thing about doing it as a concentrate is you can make it as weak or strong as you want it. As a side note: I tried adding it to tequila and it was not very good. Very surprising but for some reason the flavors didn’t meld. Also, this tastes nothing like a Sonic cherry limeade because it tastes like real cherry more than sugar.
I am curious – what are some of your favorite things made with real cherries?
Basil Infused Cherry Limeade
- Prep Time: 10
- Cook Time: 15
- Total Time: 25
- 1.5lbs fresh Cherries
- Zest of 4 limes (approximately 2 Tbls)
- Juice of 4 limes (approximately ¾ cup)
- ¼ cup packed fresh basil leaves (approximately 14 leaves)
- 3 Tbls raw honey
- Juicer Instructions: Pit the cherries and run them through the juicer. Pour the juice into a sauce pan and place on medium-high heat.
- Zest the limes and add it to the cherry juice mixture. Take the rind off the limes and run the flesh through the juicer.
- Add the lime juice to the pot along with the basil and honey. Let it steep for about 15 minutes. It can simmer slightly but I would not recommend a boil.
- Take the mixture off the heat and pour through a fine mesh sieve or cheesecloth. It should be a silky smooth consistency.
- Feel free to reserve the basil leaves and put them back in the concentrate for optimal flavor.
- Blender Instructions: Pit the cherries and place in your blender. Puree until very smooth. Put the mixture through a fine mesh strainer and get some of the pulp out.
- Place the juice in a sauce pan and place on medium-high heat. Zest and juice the limes and add it to the pot.
- Then add the basil and honey and let it steep for about 15 minutes. It can simmer slightly but I would not recommend a boil.
- Take the mixture off the heat and pour through a fine mesh sieve or cheesecloth. Feel free to reserve the basil leaves and put them back in the concentrate for optimal flavor.
- Assembly: 2+Tablespoons concentrate to 1 Cup sparkling water. You can add more or less to match personal taste. Top with lime and cherries if desired!
- The lime is also up to personal preference and also size of the fruit. It is possible you will need to add more to taste.
- You really can substitute any type of sweetener in this. I tolerate raw honey the best so that is what I chose to do. If you want a lower glycemic load than liquid stevia would be a good option.
- Serving Size: 4
*The lime is also up to personal preference and also size of the fruit. It is possible you will need to add more to taste.
**You really can substitute any type of sweetener in this. I tolerate raw honey the best so that is what I chose to do. If you want a lower glycemic load than liquid stevia would be a good option. My cherries were pretty sweet and I didn’t think it required much sweetener but I am pretty sensitive to sweet things. I easily could have gone with less then what I put but I knew I would be serving it to others. I would taste it as you go and decide how much you prefer.
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This is a gorgeous recipe. I love the photos.