Cherry Coconut Mint Soda
By Jessie Lehail
It’s cherry season. I couldn’t be more ecstatic. The last week has been all about feasting on cherries in their simplest form – eating them clean and spitting out their pits. However, as that experience wears off, I begin reinventing the ubiquitous cherry into pies, scones, and this delicious cherry coconut mint soda.
This Indian soda recipe has a couple of steps, but is well worth the effort. If you are looking for a bubbly, creamy, delight — this is the drink for you. Once your syrup is prepared and waiting in the refrigerator, you’ll have lots of quick and delicious drinks all summer long. Speaking of drinks, the cherry syrup you will concoct would be an exceptional addition to sparkling wine or a martini.
The simplicity and perfect flavors behind this simple beverage has me bubbling over with happiness. Cherries and mint go together so well. Cherries and coconut milk go well together. Merged together these bold flavours are daring but delicious. Topped with club soda they become even better.
For those of you wanting to indulge in an alcoholic version. Add your favorite spirits for a boozy kick. A few ounces of light rum or vodka would add a touch of celebration this soda.
However, think of the possibilities of this technique with other fruits, spices, and herbs. Blackberry- cardamom soda; nectarine-chili soda; watermelon-lime-chaat soda. The possibilities are endless.
2 cups pitted fresh cherries
1 cup sugar
½ cup chopped fresh mint
½ teaspoon of garam masala
½ cup coconut milk (I like the full-fat version best)
Making the Syrup
Combine the cherries, sugar, garam masala and mint in a large bowl. Toss them around with your hands to coat the cherries. Cover the bowl in plastic wrap and let it sit in the refrigerator overnight.
Making the syrup. The next morning, put the cherry mixture into a blender. Blend until it is smooth.
Making the soda
In the blender combine some of the cherry-mint syrup with coconut milk. Blend until smooth. You’ll know your own ratio of syrup to coconut milk. Pour some of the mixture (usually about 1/3 way of a tall glass). Top with club soda and ice. Enjoy.
Jessie Lehail is the author of Indian Influence, a food blog that takes global eats and reinterprets them with a South Asian influence. Sometimes dramatically. Sometimes subtly. Visit her blog at www.indianinfluence.ca.