Asian Influence: Cherry coconut mint soda

By Jessie Lehail,
Special to The Post
 
It’s cherry season and I couldn’t be more ecstatic. This past week I have been feasting on cherries in their simplest form. However, as that experience wears off, I begin reinventing the summer fruit into pies, scones, and this delicious cherry coconut mint soda.
Cherries and mint go together so well. Add coconut milk and it’s a bold and delicious drink to cool you down in the summer.
This soda recipe has a couple of steps, but is well worth the effort. The syrup can be kept in the refrigerator and used all summer long.
For those who want to indulge in an alcoholic version, add your favorite spirits. A few ounces of light rum or vodka would add a touch of celebration to this soda. This soda can also be adapted for a number of other fruits, spices and herbs. Try blackberry-cardamom, nectarine-chili, or 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) 
• Club soda
• Ice cubes   
 
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. The next morning, put the cherry mixture into a blender. Blend until it is smooth.  To make the soda: in a 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. Fill a tall glass 1/3 full with the soda mix and top with club soda and ice.
 
Jessie Lehail is the author of Indian Influence, a food blog that takes global eats and reinterprets them with a South Asian influence. Visit her blog at www.indianinfluence.ca.
 

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