The trouble with most cherry sodas is that they are enjoyable in an artificial lollipop sort of way, and have nothing at all to do with the flavor of fresh cherries. Enter Andrew Schloss, author of Homemade Soda and creator of this fantastic Sour Cherriade that smacks of fresh cherry flavor.
Instead of opting for sour cherries, those elusive sour treats that are only available for a few months out of the year, Schloss went with the more readily available sweet variety. To mimic that great sour flavor, Schloss adds a few tablespoons of red wine vinegar as well as a bit of almond extract, a sneaky touch that does wonders to accentuate the stone fruitiness of the cherries. Puréed together and strained, the sugar-simmered cherries, vinegar, and almond extract add up to a concentrate that tastes like fresh sour cherries with just the slightest hint of sweetness. Added to seltzer or carbonated in a soda siphon, this Sour Cherriade is great on ice—a splash of gin is optional.
As always with our Drink the Book feature, we have five (5) copies of Homemade Sodas to give away this month.
- 1 quart fresh cherries, stems and pits removed
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
- 1/8 teaspoon almond extract
For the Cherry Purée: Combine the cherries and sugar in a small saucepan and cook over medium heat, stirring often until the cherries are soft and have released their juice. Purée in a blender or food processor, and then strain; you should have about 2 cups of smooth purée. Stir in the vinegar and almond extract.
The purée will keep in the refrigerator for up to 2 days, but will be best if used immediately.
To mix with seltzer: Pour 2/3 cup cherry purée into a tall glass. Add 2/3 cup seltzer and stir until just blended. Add ice and serve.
To carbonate with a siphon: Combine 2 cups water and 1 full batch cherry purée in a 1-quart soda siphon. Charge with CO2 according to the manufacturer's directions. Siphon charged sodas can be stored in the siphon in a refrigerator for up to 5 days. Dispense as desired into tall glasses filled with ice and serve.