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Use this easy, versatile sour cherry syrup in a cocktail, a Shirley Temple, or drizzled liberally into soda water to make an Italian soda. It’s ready in minutes and keeps for a month in the fridge.

sour cherry syrup in a small jar with a spoon and three cherries
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Why we love this recipe

This syrup has it all. Tart, sweet, a little bit floral, a little bit bracing, it adds interest and dimension to a wide variety of beverages. You can use it instead of or in combination with lemon juice to flavor and brighten everything from a glass of soda water to a gin and tonic.

Since it keeps for a long time in the fridge or freezer, it’s a great way to preserve some of your sour cherry haul for use throughout the year.

I first published this recipe here in 2018. I’ve updated the post for clarity, but the recipe remains the same.

What you’ll need

Here’s a glance at the ingredients you’ll need to make this recipe.

ingredients in bowls
  • Sour cherries, also called tart cherries, are delicate, thin-skinned, and bright red. As the name suggests, they’re very sour, and they have a floral briskness that really shines when lightly sweetened. They come in several varieties, including Moreno and Montmorency (pictured). You can use them interchangeably.
  • Using a 1:1 ratio of sugar to water makes this a very versatile syrup. In essence, it acts as both the simple syrup and tart component in cocktails and more.

How to make it

Here’s what you’ll do to make a beautiful batch of syrup . You can see the steps in action in the video that accompanies this post, and get all the details in the recipe card below.

step by step
  1. Place pitted sour cherries, water, and sugar into a small pot.
  2. Bring to a boil, stirring occasionally.
  3. Simmer for 10 minutes.
  4. Let cool, then store (with or without cherries) in an airtight container in the fridge for up to a month.

Expert tips and FAQs

How do you use sour cherry syrup?

Try it in cocktails such as our twist on a French 75, in a Shirley Temple, or drizzled into soda water to make an Italian soda.

Got any variations?

Don’t I always? If you’d like to make this into a thicker syrup that you can use as a sauce for ice cream and baked goods, here’s what to do. Stir together one tablespoon of cornstarch and two tablespoons of freshly squeezed lemon juice until perfectly smooth.

At the nine minute mark, pour it into the pot, stir well, and continue to simmer for about a minute, until syrup thickens. Transfer to a blender and process until perfectly smooth.

Once cool, sauce is ready to use.

More favorite ways to use sour cherries

sour cherry syrup in a small jar with a spoon and three cherries

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sour cherry syrup in a small jar with a spoon and three cherries
4.59 from 29 votes

Sour Cherry Syrup

By Carolyn Gratzer Cope
Use this syrup in the Sour Cherry French 75, a seasonal twist on a Shirley Temple, or drizzled into soda water to make an Italian soda. Keeps tightly covered in the fridge for a month.
Prep: 5 minutes
Cook: 15 minutes
Total: 20 minutes
Servings: 2 cups
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Ingredients 

  • 1 ½ cups (300 grams) sugar
  • 1 ½ cups (360 ml) water
  • 3 cups 425 grams/15 ounces pitted sour cherries

Instructions 

  • Place all ingredients into a small pot.
  • Set over medium-high heat and bring to a boil.
  • Reduce heat to maintain a brisk simmer, stirring occasionally. Cook for 10 minutes, until liquid is bright red.
  • Cool completely, then store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to a month.

Notes

  1. Weigh the cherries after removing pits and stems.
  2. You can store the cherries right in the syrup and add them to drinks, or strain them out and eat separately. Try them over yogurt with granola, in smoothies, or add to other recipes like muffins or cake.
  3. Syrup will keep in an airtight container in the fridge for up to a month. Or freeze it for up to a year.
  4. If you’d like to make this into a thicker syrup that you can use as a sauce for ice cream and baked goods, here’s what to do. Stir together one tablespoon of cornstarch and two tablespoons of freshly squeezed lemon juice until perfectly smooth. At the nine minute mark, pour it into the pot, stir well, and continue to simmer for about a minute, until syrup thickens. Transfer to a blender and process until perfectly smooth. Once cool, sauce is ready to use.
I first published this recipe here in 2018. I’ve updated the post for clarity, but the recipe remains the same.

Nutrition

Serving: 1tablespoon, Calories: 20kcal, Carbohydrates: 7g, Protein: 0.1g

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Additional Info

Course: Virgin Drinks
Cuisine: American
Tried this recipe?Mention @umamigirl or tag #umamigirl!

Hungry for more?

Subscribe to Umami Girl’s email updates, and follow along on Instagram.

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Carolyn Gratzer Cope Bio Photo

About Carolyn Gratzer Cope

Hi there, I'm Carolyn Gratzer Cope, founder and publisher of Umami Girl. Join me in savoring life, one recipe at a time. I'm a professional recipe developer with training from the French Culinary Institute (now ICE) and a lifetime of studying, appreciating, and sharing food.

4.59 from 29 votes (29 ratings without comment)

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