Wednesday, June 20, 2012

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?

Afiyet olsun!
Sipping my pretty cherry-lemonade cocktail at home.
Cherry-Lemonade Cocktail

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
                        Chilled vodka
                        Ice cubes
                        Lime wedges

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.

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jaz@octoberfarm said...

this sure looks good. my cherries rarely make it farther than right out of the bag into my mouth. we are just starting to get the rainer cherries which are my favorites!

Dolce Fooda said...

I just made cherry preserve and it is so good... I bet your lemonade cocktail is good too... and I always thought cheery is good only as fresh.

BacktoBodrum said...

At last, a use for my cocktail shaker.

Joy said...

@Joyce, The cherries are good, but we have so much fresh fruit right now that I can't keep up with it all. I always buy too much just for the two of us.

@Dolce Fooda, cherry preserves also sound nice!

@BacktoBodrum, I always find a use for our cocktail shaker. ;-)

Karen said...

Fruit produce in Turkey is at its most glorious right now. I can't get enough cherries and peaches!