Nothing is sweeter than a homemade gift, and with homemade syrups and elixirs lined up on all the best bars in New York these days, this cherry syrup is very, well, au currant.
This recipe is a favorite of mine and is always a hit when I bring it for friends I’m visiting or gift it to guests at a party. I sometimes selfishly make a batch just for myself and keep it in the refrigerator. The thing about this delicious syrup is that it’s not only super simple to make; it’s also incredibly versatile.
You can add a few drops to sparkling water or club soda for a refreshing treat or a kiddie cocktail. To welcome my guests at lunch or brunch, I love to spoon a little into my collection of mix-and-match Champagne glasses, and top it off with my favorite bubbly. Cava and Prosecco are two budget-friendly options and great for informal parties. (Photo courtesy of William Geddes)
It can also be used to garnish breakfast or dessert offerings. Try mixing it with a good-quality maple syrup and serve it warm over French toast, waffles, or pancakes. Its sweetness and pretty red hue will instantly jazz up a slice of pound cake or a simple bowl of ice cream with just a drizzle. (Photo courtesy of William Geddes)
Making the cherry syrup is just like making a simple syrup — like what bartenders use in classic cocktails — but you’re using the cherry juice as a base instead of water. It’s easy to do and takes very little time. I happen to like to use frozen cherries for this, as they are generally already pitted and often less expensive than fresh, but if you have great cherries in season, go for fresh!
When using the syrup, don’t forget about presentation. Use a funnel to fill up vintage bottles with a cork stopper, or buy chef-style squeeze bottles, available at craft and cooking stores. You can even recycle old glass soda or vinegar bottles and just top them with a clean cork. Add raffia or a pretty ribbon and you’re a genius and her favorite guest!