Using Turkish Kiraz to make Limonata
Cherries, from bright red to sunset orange, are everywhere right now in Istanbul.
I love cherries, but sometimes I forget I have them in the fridge. So the other day, I came across a bunch of kinda mushy kiraz and decided to cook them in a simple syrup.
|Mountains of cherries at the pazar and manav in Istanbul.|
At first, I was thinking of making a refreshing lemonade or limonata as the drink is called here in Turkey. Restaurants charge as much as 12 tl for this drink, but I made enough limonata mix for 4 drinks for about half that price.
Making this cherry-lemonade mix from scratch is fairly easy - a similar method to my Homemade Ginger Ale recipe.
If you want a fun summer cocktail instead, just replace some of the sparkling water or soda water with vodka (which you have stored in the freezer, of course).
What's your favorite way to use summer's bounty of cherries?
|Sipping my pretty cherry-lemonade cocktail at home.|
1 c. (210 g.) granulated sugar
1 c. (240 ml.) water
About 1 lb. or 500 g. fresh cherries, rinsed but not pitted
Juice half a lemon
As needed: Sparkling water (I used Uludağ Doğal Zengin Mineralli Su) or soda water
In a medium-sized pot, add the sugar, water, cherries and lemon juice. Cook over medium-high heat until the sugar dissolves, stirring often. I let my mixture come to a boil and then pulled the pot off the heat.
Let the mixture cool until it is room temperature.
Then, strain the mixture, pressing down on the cherries to extract as much liquid as possible; or strain the mixture through cheesecloth. The cherry syrup can be used now or stored in a clean container in the refrigerator for later use. I prefer to have a chilled syrup.
To make a glass of Cherry-Lemonade Cocktail:
1/4 c. (60 ml.) cherry syrup
1/4 c. (60 ml.) fresh lemon juice
1/4 c. (60 ml.) chilled vodka
Fill a cocktail shaker with these ingredients and a couple of ice cubes. Shake together. Pour into a glass.
Then top off your glass with 1/4 c. (60 ml.) sparkling water or soda water.
(HINT: do not add the fizzy water to your martini shaker like I did at first because it will make a HUGE mess! That's why hubby is generally the bartender.)
Garnish with a lime wedge.
To make a non-alcoholic drink, substitute 1/2 c. (120 ml.) sparkling water or soda water for the vodka.
Now, take your cocktail or normal limonata and imagine you are on the beach. At least, that's what I did.