Spike with vodka or gin to create a refreshing summer beverage -- but if you prefer to omit the alcohol entirely, do so. With or without alcohol, to each guest's preference when mixing, this is a great addition to your summer beverage options!
FIZZY SOUR CHERRY LEMONADE
2 lbs. fresh or thawed, frozen sour cherries (~1 qt.)
1 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice (or a reasonable facsimile; try some Newman's in this concoction or Nantucket Lemonade)
3/4 to 1 cup sugar (superfine, i.e. "bar," sugar, dissolves exceptionally well)
1 1/2 cups vodka (optional) --added to taste as you make each drink (try some Bombay or Tanqueray Gin for another great taste option)
2 to 3 cups chilled, sparkling water
For garnish: fresh, sour cherries, with stems
Blend cherries (including pits) in a blender at low speed until skins have broken down enough to brightly color liquid (some of pits will be coarsely chopped). Pour through a sieve into a 2-quart pitcher; pressing on and discarding solids. Add lemon juice and sugar (to taste), stirring until sugar is well dissolved.
Pour 3 tablespoons vodka (if using) into each of 8 tall (10-ounce) glasses filled with ice. Add 1/2 cup cherry lemonade to each and top off with sparkling water.
Sour-cherry lemonade mixture can be made one day ahead and chilled; covered. Try freezing for a really cool drink!
(Do not double or triple the recipe. One batch will fill the average blender.)
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