Get ready to make a trip to the farmers market and toast to the unofficial start of summer: This roasted cherry soda from Northwest native and Tending the Table blogger Sasha Swerdloff is all that with a cherry on top; it's a cup of sweet, rich, fizzy goodness just begging to be sipped in the sun. (Think your childhood favorite, just all grown up.) Swerdloff roasts the cherries in vanilla bean and maple syrup to bring out their sweetness, then adds smoky black tea and lemon to create rich layers of flavor.
"This mocktail is rich and robust but still refreshing and perfect for warm summer days," Swerdloff writes in her blog post. "And if you want to get crazy, try adding some tequila or bourbon."
Memorial day has come and gone, and the forecast is looking sunny and blue. Consider this permission to whip up a glass of this fruity deliciousness and savor the sunshine.
Yield: 2 servings
1 cup cherries, cut in half and pitted
2 tablespoons maple syrup, divided
1 vanilla bean
1 tablespoon loose leaf smoky black tea like keemum
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment.
2. Slice the vanilla bean in half lengthwise. Using the back of a small knife, scrape the seeds out of the vanilla bean pod and into a bowl.
3. Add the vanilla bean pod, the cherries and 1 tablespoon of the maple syrup. Toss to coat the cherries. Transfer to the baking sheet and roast in the oven for 5-10 minutes, until soft and bubbling. Remove from the oven and set aside.
4. Meanwhile, steep the tea in 1/4 cup boiling water for 5 minutes. Strain and set aside.
5. Place the cherries and any syrup left on the baking sheet into a blender and pulse a few times until a chunky puree forms.
6. Strain the cherry puree through a fine mesh strainer into a jar. Add 3 tablespoons of the steeped tea, the lemon juice and the remaining 1 tablespoon maple syrup. Stir to combine.
7. Divide the syrup between two glasses, top each glass with ice, 4 ounces soda water and a cherry to garnish.