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Make this refreshing “mocktail” in the height of summer, when fresh cherries reach their seasonal peak. Use a cherry pitter to speed prep work.

Ingredients:

  • 2 1/2 cups Bing or Rainier cherries, pitted
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 fresh thyme sprig
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1/4 cup fresh lime juice
  • Ice as needed
  • Splash of club soda (soda water)

Directions:

In a large saucepan over medium-high heat, combine the cherries, sugar, thyme and water. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the cherries have softened, about 30 minutes. Remove from the heat and let cool. Discard the thyme, then transfer the mixture to a blender and puree until smooth. Strain through a fine-mesh sieve into a pitcher. Stir in the lime juice and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.

Fill individual Collins glasses with ice. Fill each glass one-third full with the cherry mixture and top with club soda. Serves 6 to 8.

Adapted from Williams-Sonoma Cooking for Friends, by Alison Attenborough and Jamie Kimm (Oxmoor House, 2008).