I look forward to cherry season every year. They are, hands down, my favorite fruit. And, they hold such a nostalgic place in my heart.

I remember at the beginning of every summer my mom would load us into the car and head over to the local orchard to buy them by the crate, then we’d spend the rest of the day pitting (and eating) them and packing them in freezer bags to store for the rest of the year. By the end of the day, my fingers (and face) were stained a dark cherry purple that was the mark of hard work (and not-so-sneaky eating.)

The fresh cherries were so good, but sneaking down to the basement freezer throughout the year to eat the frozen ones was better. They were such a treat, like sweet little frozen fruit popsicle nuggets. Then I’d sneak back up the stairs, only to be caught purple-handed again.

Blergh, mom. She always knew what I was up to.

Whatever. It was so worth it.

Now, whenever I see a bag of frozen dark cherries in the grocery I buy them so I can eat as many as I want, whenever I want. Just try to stop me, mom.

I actually used some of my frozen goodie stash to make these dark cherry margaritas in preparation for Cinco de Mayo. Muddled frozen dark cherries with lime juice and a bit of sugar, mixed with tart cherry juice, and silver tequila, poured over ice with a sugar and salt rim.

Yes. Please.

Dark Cherry Margaritas
(makes two drinks)
4 oz (1/2 cup) frozen pitted dark cherries
1 tsp sugar
2 oz (1/4 cup) fresh lime juice
4 oz (1/2 cup) silver tequila
4 oz (1/2 cup) 100% cherry juice (Trader Joe’s has great cherry juice. Look for 100% not from concentrate.)
1 tbsp sugar plus 1 tbsp salt (for rimming the glasses)

On a small plate, combine the 1 tbsp of sugar with the 1 tbsp of salt and mix them together with your fingertips. Use a slice of lime to ‘juice’ the rim of each glass, then dip the rims into the sugar/salt mixture. Fill the glasses halfway with ice and set the them aside.

In a cocktail shaker, combine the frozen cherries, 1 tsp sugar, and lime juice, and muddle them together to smash the cherries and dissolve the sugar. Add a scoop of ice, then pour in the tequila and cherry juice. Shake vigorously, then strain the margaritas into the sugar/salt rimmed glasses. Garnish with a lime slice and another frozen cherry (or two.)

These are probably one of my favorite cocktails. Not super sweet, not super tart. Pretty much the perfect combination.

Mmmmmm, cherries. Get in my belly.