Last week, the New York Times ran a story about summer drinks that included a wonderful remembrance by Elaine Scolino of an afternoon in Shiraz drinking a "ruby-colored iced drink that came in a tall glass set on a painted tray." It caught my imagination; food as memory, shared experience with people you care about. When I spotted sour cherries for sale at the Printer's Row farmer's market on Saturday, I had to try them. I had never tasted sour cherries before; they are soft-skinned and tart, more complex than bing cherries. I boiled them in sugar water, strained them well, and chilled the syrup. Pour a little over plenty of ice, top with sparkling water, and serve with a wedge of lime--a wonderful, refreshing summer drink. The kids have been making these nonstop all week; I hope I can find more cherries at the market this week.
Sour Cherry Spritzer
2 pints sour cherries 5 cups sugar 2 cups water juice of 2 limes
Combine the sugar, water, and lime juice in a medium saucepan. Set over medium heat and bring to a boil. Tie the cherries in a double-layer of cheesecloth, and drop into the saucepan. Simmer over medium-low heat for 20-30 minutes. Pull off the heat and allow to cool. Lift the cherries out of the syrup and squeeze to get all of the juice out. Pour into a small pitcher and chill well.
Fill a glass with ice. Fill the bottom third of the glass with sour cherry syrup. Top with cold seltzer water. Serve with a lime wedge.