Tart Cherry Cocktail Recipe

This simple tart cherry cocktail is the perfect antidote to mid-winter gloom.

tart cherry cocktail with lime

Serious Eats / Julianne Puckett

Why This Recipe Works

  • Tart cherry juice has that mouth-puckering kick that pairs perfectly with tangy lime and vodka.
  • A splash of sweet Cointreau or triple sec gives a nice complementary orange flavor. 

Two confessions. One: I love cocktails. Two: I am lazy. Well, lazy when it comes to making cocktails. I refuse to consider making a drink with an ingredient list that requires six new hard-to-find bottles or a consultation with a dictionary. This laziness has caused "cocktail hour" at my house to become essentially "glass-of-wine hour", which is frankly getting pretty boring.

Therefore, for my new year's resolution, I've decided to give our cocktail hour a kick in the pants. I'm on a quest for recipes for simple cocktails—some classic, some new, but all with fewer than five ingredients, none of which are weird. Camel's milk? No way. Dry ice? Give me a break. Bacon? OK, maybe.

This tart cherry cocktail is the perfect place to begin my quest. It's a simple cocktail (just four highly pronounceable ingredients) that could only be considered complicated by someone who doesn't own glassware. With its brilliant garnet hue and sweet-tart flavors of orange, cherry and lime, it tastes an awful lot like a summery cherry limeade, albeit a boozy one. And we could all stand a little reminder of summer during the dark days of January.

Let's be clear, though, that we're not talking about the maraschino cherry, that neon queen of the garnish caddy. Tart cherry juice, found at most organic markets, has a bit of a mouth-puckering kick that pairs perfectly with tangy lime and vodka. To temper all that tartness in this cocktail, a splash of sweet Cointreau (or whatever triple sec you have on hand) gives a nice complementary orange flavor. If you're looking for a better variation on the Cosmopolitan, here's your drink, the perfectly simple antidote to mid-winter gloom.

January 2014

Recipe Details

Tart Cherry Cocktail Recipe

Active 5 mins
Total 5 mins
Serves 1 serving

This simple tart cherry cocktail is the perfect antidote to mid-winter gloom.


  • 1/2 ounce tart cherry juice concentrate (see notes)

  • 1/2 ounce freshly squeezed lime juice, from 1 lime

  • 1 ounce Cointreau or triple sec

  • 3 ounces vodka

  • Lime slice or twist for garnish


  1. Fill a cocktail shaker with ice. Add tart cherry juice concentrate, lime juice, Cointreau, and vodka. Shake until well chilled, about 15 seconds. Strain into a cocktail glass. Garnish with lime slice or twist and serve.

Special Equipment

Cocktail shaker


Use unsweetened 100% tart cherry juice concentrate, which often comes in a 16-ounce bottle at natural foods stores. I used Dynamic Health Labs.

Nutrition Facts (per serving)
312 Calories
0g Fat
17g Carbs
1g Protein
Show Full Nutrition Label Hide Full Nutrition Label
Nutrition Facts
Servings: 1
Amount per serving
Calories 312
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 0g 0%
Saturated Fat 0g 0%
Cholesterol 0mg 0%
Sodium 12mg 1%
Total Carbohydrate 17g 6%
Dietary Fiber 2g 7%
Total Sugars 10g
Protein 1g
Vitamin C 28mg 138%
Calcium 25mg 2%
Iron 0mg 3%
Potassium 104mg 2%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)