5 Very Cherry Festive Cocktails From Cherry Time

Cherry time cherries
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No other fruit embodies the festive season quite as well as ripe, red cherries. And, with the end of the year fast approaching, many South Africans are gearing up for a season full of festivities. But unlike our friends in the north who enjoy warm treats such as eggnog over this period, South Africa’s summer heat requires festive-ready drinks that are a lot more refreshing. Here, Cherry Time shares juicy cherry cocktail recipes that are the perfect accompaniment to your holiday celebrations.


Colorado-based food blogger Tieghan Gerard of Half Baked Harvest loves a good summer cherry – and knows that the fresher they are, the juicier the drink. Her five-minute recipe for this sweet, simple cocktail is guaranteed to get your festive party started.

Ingredients (serves 1):
  • 4-6 fresh cherries, pitted
  • Juice from half a lime
  • Dash of orange bitters
  • 1-2 Tbsp honey
  • 30 ml bourbon whiskey, to taste
  • Fresh mint leaves and cherries, to garnish
  1. Mix the pitted cherries, lime juice, orange bitters, and honey in a cocktail shaker or glass jar until the cherries are well mashed.
  2. Add the bourbon and shake to combine.
  3. Strain the mixture into a cocktail glass filled with ice. (You may also leave the mashed cherries in and top off the drink with sparkling water.)
  4. Garnish with the fresh mint and cherries to serve.

Many a holiday feast has started at noon and carried well into the late afternoon. Instead of cracking open your usual bottle of red, why not treat your guests to this fresh cherry lemonade by Housewife How-tos’ Katy Berry, who says this drink absolutely must be made with fresh cherries. Plus, it can be made as a non-alcoholic beverage too.

Ingredients (serves 4):
  • 500 g fresh cherries, pitted
  • 1 cup of sugar
  • 3-4 cups water
  • 1 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 cup cherry-flavored vodka (remove for non-alcoholic variant)
  • Mint leaves, lemon slices, and fresh cherries, to garnish


  1. In a large saucepan over medium heat, combine the cherries, sugar and 1 cup of water. Stir the mixture frequently until it comes to a boil. Remove from heat and let it cool for 15 minutes.
  2. Combine the lemon juice, vodka and the rest of the water in a large jug.
  3. Add the cooled cherry syrup to the mixture in the jug, stir and add ice.
  4. Top with the mint leaves, lemon slices and fresh cherries to serve.

Lifestyle blogger Umami Girl is all about family and her Sour Cherry Shirley Temple is the ideal drink for the entire family. Skip the grenadine and give the kids (and designated drivers) something to smile about with this one.

Ingredients (serves 4):

For the syrup:

  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 cup fresh cherries, pitted

For the drink:

  • 3 cups ginger ale or lemon-lime cold drink
  • 8 Tbsp syrup
  • Fresh cherries, to garnish
For the syrup:
  1. Combine the sugar, water, and cherries in a small pot over medium to high heat and bring to a boil.
  2. Reduce heat until the mixture is at a simmer, stirring occasionally. Cook for 10-15 minutes until the liquid is red and slightly thickened.
  3. Strain it and keep the cherries as a delicious compote for dessert.
  4. Leave to cool.
For the drink:
  1. Fill four glasses with ice and pour the cold drink until each glass is ¾ full.
  2. Stir 2 tablespoons of syrup into each glass and top with a fresh cherry to serve.
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Cherry blossoms

Similar to the Brazilian Caipirinha cocktails, Caipiroskas replace the rum with vodka. Modern versions of this drink include fresh fruit too and, as Argentinian food blogger and Instagrammer Paula Montenegro of Vintage Kitchen says, this is one drink that “screams to be made while are in season”. A definite winner at the office festive soiree.

Ingredients (serves 2):
  • 12-15 fresh cherries, pitted
  • 5 Tbsp sugar
  • 1 lime, cut in wedges, plus extra to garnish
  • Fresh mint, plus extra to garnish
  • 120 ml vodka
  • Ice
  • Cocktail straws, to garnish
  1. Divide the cherries and sugar between the glasses.
  2. Add two wedges of lime and mint to each glass. Using a muddler, crush the fruit and mix with the sugar until the liquid forms a syrup.
  3. Add ice to every glass until nearly full. Pour 60 ml vodka in each glass.
  4. Stir and decorate with a sprig of mint and a cocktail straw to serve.

Forget the eggnog and dig into this creamy cocktail that’s perfect for the summer heat. Whipped up by Who Needs A Cape, a group of five digital mom friends on Yummly, this is a quick-and-easy recipe for the busy bees.

Ingredients (serves 4):
  • 45 ml of vodka
  • 1/3 cup fresh cherries
  • 180 ml lemonade
  • 30 ml of cream
  • Ice
  1. Combine all the ingredients in a blender and mix thoroughly.
  2. Add ice until the desired consistency is reached.
  3. Pour into glasses and serve immediately.

Tis the season to be cherry! These delicious cocktails will add a festive flair to every occasion. You can get your delicious cherries in selected areas of the Western Cape from Cherry Time, with orders opening on 25 November. Remember, the season stocks are limited so order yours early to avoid disappointment.