Easy Black Cherry Syrup Recipe for Sodas & Cocktails

Add a rich, sweet flavor and deep crimson color to your favorite drinks and desserts with this easy cherry syrup recipe

glass of homemade black cherry vanilla soda.

Cherry season is one of my favorite times of the year, especially in Washington. There’s something magical about the abundance of vibrant red cherries hanging over your head, ready to be picked. I love to buy cases of cherries and freeze them for later.

A great way to make the most of this bounty is by crafting your own homemade cherry syrup! With little effort, you can infuse the flavor of sweet cherries into a variety of drinks and recipes. A little bit goes a long way, so you may even have some extra jars to give away as gifts.

What is Cherry Syrup?

This is a traditional simple syrup infused with cherries and vanilla extract for a rich, well-rounded flavor. Its authentically sweet and slightly tart taste makes it the perfect addition to a fruity craft cocktail, iced tea, lemonade, and more. You can also make your own cherry colas, free of corn syrup and artificial flavor!

This recipe uses vanilla extract but could easily use a whole vanilla bean instead, just like my vanilla simple syrup!

bottle of cherry syrup next to sparkling water and fresh cherries.

Why you’ll love this cherry simple syrup recipe


  • DELICIOUS FLAVOR – Not only does this fruity syrup have a vibrant color, it also has a delightful sweet flavor. Made with fresh fruit and real sugar, this easy recipe is rich with delicious cherry flavor.
  • VERSATILE – This sweet syrup has a variety of uses. It’s the perfect complement for alcoholic as well as non-alcoholic drinks like iced tea and Shirley Temples. It’s a little thin to use on French toast or ice cream, but it will certainly add a beautiful color and delicious cherry flavor!
  • ALL NATURAL – If you look at the nutritional information on most store-bought syrups, you’ll find a lot of citric acid, sodium benzoate, and even Red #40, which is why making your own cherry syrup is always the healthiest and tastiest option. This homemade syrup contains just three simple ingredients – the real natural flavors!

Equipment

To make this homemade cherry syrup, you’ll need:

  • Cherry pitter
  • Medium or small saucepan
  • Glass bottle or mason jar
  • Fine mesh strainer
  • Narrow funnel
ingredients to make simple syrup with fresh cherries.

Ingredients

  • Cherries – Feel free to use either fresh or frozen cherries. Fresh cherries should be washed well, pitted, destemmed, then cut into small pieces.
  • Sugar – You can use regular white sugar, organic cane sugar, or whichever version you have on hand. Brown sugar tastes great, but may hide the fruit flavor.
  • Water – This is a standard simple syrup, so you’ll need equal parts water and sugar. 
  • Vanilla extract – This ingredient is optional, but definitely recommended. Try my homemade bourbon vanilla extract in this recipe! 

How to Make Black Cherry Syrup

  1. Rinse and dry the cherries. Remove the stems and cherry pits, then chop into small pieces. Feel free to use frozen cherries instead.
  2. Add the filtered water and sugar to a medium saucepan and set the stove top to medium heat. Bring to a simmer and stir occasionally until the sugar dissolves.
  3. Add the cherry pieces and continue cooking over medium heat for an additional 10-12 minutes.
  4. Remove from heat and allow the mixture to cook for 20-30 minutes.
  5. Strain out the cherry pieces with a fine-mesh sieve. 
  6. Stir in the vanilla extract (optional).
  7. Store in a glass bottle in the fridge for approximately 1 week.

How to Make Cherry Soda

  • Fill a glass with 4-5 fl oz of soda water or sparkling water.
  • Add 1.5 to 2 oz of this homemade cherry soda syrup. Add a squeeze of lime or lemon juice if desired.
  • Stir, taste, and enjoy!

Storing

While classic simple syrup can be stored at room temperature, fruit syrup is best kept cold. Store your leftover cherry syrup in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 1 week.

Tips & Variations

  • Use any type of cherry. I prefer black cherries for their dark color and rich flavor, but this is also a fun recipe for sour cherries, Bing cherries, Rainiers, and other varieties.
  • Adjust the extract. The vanilla extract is entirely optional, but quite lovely. Feel free to use 1 tsp of almond extract instead!
  • Try using a bottle with a pour spout for easy pouring. This will also enhance the presentation of your syrup.
  • Experiment with the sweetness and consistency. The standard simple syrup proportions are one cup water for every one cup sugar, but if you want a thicker syrup with more concentrated sweetness, try decreasing the water content a bit.
  • If you use frozen cherries, make sure they are pitted. Usually, they are, but double-check that the bag says pitted.
overhead view of soda made with black cherry simple syrup.

Cherry Syrup Uses

Here are some of my favorite ways to enjoy this homemade black cherry syrup.

  • Add about 2 oz of syrup to 4-5 oz of soda water for a black cherry vanilla soda. It’s also great with a little lemon or lime juice!
  • Make a black cherry lemonade or Italian soda
  • Substitute the thicker version of this syrup for maple syrup on pancakes and waffles
  • Make cherry bourbon or other craft cocktails (add some maraschino cherries for garnish)
  • Ditch the conventional cherry coffee syrups and add this vanilla cherry syrup to your latte
  • Drizzle over ice cream, cheesecake, or chocolate mousse

FAQs

How long does cherry syrup last?

Homemade cherry syrup lasts about 1 week when stored in the fridge. Make sure to use an airtight jar or container.

What’s the difference between cherry juice and cherry syrup?

Organic cherry juice is extracted from fresh cherries, typically by pressing or crushing the fruit, and retains more of the cherries’ anti-inflammatory properties. Cherry syrup is a sweetened liquid made by simmering cherries with sugar and water. It is thicker than cherry juice due to the added sweetener and has a concentrated flavor great for flavoring drinks.

Can I use frozen cherries to make cherry syrup?

Yes, using frozen cherries is a convenient option. Thaw them before starting the syrup-making process and make sure they are pitted.

Related Recipes

glass of homemade cherry soda with cherry syrup.
bottle of cherry vanilla soda syrup.

Black Cherry Syrup Recipe

This delicious black cherry simple syrup is the perfect way to add that cherry flavor to lemonades, sodas, cocktails, and more. It's super simple, too!
5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Cooling Time 1 hour
Total Time 1 hour 30 minutes
Course Appetizer, Dessert, Drinks
Cuisine American

Equipment

Ingredients
  

  • 2 cups fresh cherries, washed and pitted
  • 1 ¼ cup white sugar
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract, optional
  • 1 ¼ cup water

Instructions
 

  • Rinse and dry the cherries. Remove the stems and cherry pits, then chop into small pieces. Feel free to use frozen cherries instead.
  • Add the filtered water and sugar to a medium saucepan and set the stove top to medium heat. Bring to a simmer and stir occasionally until the sugar dissolves.
  • Add the cherry pieces and continue cooking over medium heat for an additional 10-12 minutes.
  • Remove from heat and allow the mixture to cook for 20-30 minutes.
  • Strain out the cherry pieces with a fine-mesh sieve.
  • Stir in the vanilla extract (optional).
  • Store in a glass bottle in the fridge for approximately 1 week.

Notes

Store any leftover syrup in an airtight container in the fridge for approximately 1 week.
To make a black cherry soda, follow these steps:
  • Fill a glass with 4-5 fl oz of soda water or sparkling water.
  • Add 1.5 to 2 oz of this homemade cherry soda syrup. Add a squeeze of lime or lemon juice if desired.
  • Stir, taste, and enjoy!
Keyword black cherry soda, black cherry vanilla syrup, cherry simple syrup
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