Make a pitcher or single serve, this Honey Sweetened Fresh Cherry Limeade recipe is like the classic Sonic cherry limeade recipe yet it’s refined sugar free and made with fresh cherries! It’s zesty, SO refreshing and easily made into a cherry limeade cocktail to share with friends.
This recipe was first published July 2016 and has been updated with new photos and recipe notes July 2021. The recipe remains unchanged.
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An Inspired Cherry Limeade Recipe
It’s the cherry limeade Sonic is so well known for! Those of you who know the fast food restaurant chain Sonic, you’re familiar with their cherry limeades.
Cherry limeade has always been a summertime treat, as long as I can remember. In Texas, there’s a Sonic in every town. I used to hang out there with friends after soccer and football games. When my brothers and sister were little, sometimes Mom and Dad would take us there after Sunday church. Now, the closest Sonic in Washington State is a few hours from where I live, so it’s a rare occasion that I get to indulge.
They serve typical American fast food, like chili cheese burgers, hot dogs, and cheesy jalapeño poppers, so it’s not a place I’d seek out now. Although, if they offered a veggie burger with veggie chili on top, you may just find me there (droool).
But a Sonic cherry limeade is one thing that holds a special place in my heart. And so, I love being able to make an inspired one at home!
Quick Guide: How to Make Cherry Limeade
Cherry season is the perfect time to whip this homemade cherry limeade recipe! Instead of loading it up with sugar and a commercial lemon-lime soda (more sugar), I opt for honey and club soda. In summary, here’s how to make this cherry flavoring for drinks (see recipe card for details):
- First, start with simmering the cherries in water.
- Second, add the cherries, honey, lime zest and juice to a blender (I use a VitaMix).
- Next, whirl the ingredients until smooth. Chill.
- Last, add a bit to an ice packed glass, then top with fizzy club soda.
Ahhhhh… can you taste it?
The syrup can be used to make individual drinks, or a pitcher of limeade can be made to serve a small crowd, using the entire batch of syrup.
A Few Recipe Tips
- Ice Ice Baby: For a cherry limeade like Sonic, be sure to crush your ice! Place it in a bag and smash it against the counter! Doesn’t that feel good?! Or, use a high speed blender to crush the ice into tiny bits (I use VitaMix).
- A Subtle Sipper: The flavor of this cherry limeade recipe is subtle. Lime and cherry notes shine because sugar doesn’t get in the way of their sublime flavors.
- Adult Beverage: For an cherry syrup cocktail, add a glug of vodka to the finished sipper.
- A high speed blender is a must in this recipe. VitaMix pulverizes the cherries in this syrup recipe, leaving behind all the fruit and juice to be enjoyed in this sipper.
- Freezer Friendly: This recipe freezes with ease! Be sure to leave at least an inch of head space in a Mason jar if freezing.
I’ve been using this Cherry Pitter for years and love it! It’s efficient and easy to clean.
More Summer Drinks to Enjoy
Honey Sweetened Fresh Cherry Limeade
For the Syrup:
- 1 C (175g) Pitted Fresh Sweet Cherries
- 1/2 C (115g) Water
- 1/3 C (90g) Raw Honey
- 2 tsp Lime Zest
- 1/3 C (55g) Lime Juice fresh squeezed (about two limes)
For the Limeaids:
- 30 oz (850g) Club Soda
- Fresh Cherries and Lime for Garnish
For the Syrup:
- In a medium sauce pot, add the cherries and water. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat, mash up the cherries a bit then put a lid on the pan, slightly ajar so a little steam can escape and simmer for about 15 minutes or until the cherries are soft.
- In a blender, add the cherries, all their juices, honey, zest and lime juice. Blend until smooth. If any solids remain, strain mixture using a fine mesh strainer.
- Chill before making the Limeades.
- Store the cherry syrup in the refrigerator for up to one week in a lidded container or freeze for up to one month.
For the Drinks:
- For individual servings, fill each 8oz (225g) glass with ice. Pour 2oz (30g) of syrup into each glass, then top off with club soda. Stir, and garnish with cherries and lime slices.For a little stronger flavor, add more cherry syrup.
- For a pitcher, fill a pitcher with ice. Add all the syrup to a pitcher, then top with 30 oz (850g) of club soda. Stir and garnish with cherries and limes. Serve over ice right away.
- Fresh cherry limeade syrup can be stored in the refrigerator for up to a week and in the freezer for months. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator.