We all have hard truths that ere more on the basis of opinion than fact, but nonetheless hold true to us. For me, there are three. 1-Summer is the greatest season; 2-Cherries are the best stone fruit; 3-Sonic makes the best slushies.
Luckily for me, both cherries and slushies revolve around Summer, so it’s essentially the universe telling me, “dang Caitlin, can’t argue you on this one”.
Look, I’m not here to gate keep. But if you have a house and don’t have a chest freezer for the sole process of processing fruit while it’s in season to enjoy year round, are you really a homeowner? Don’t ask me, I don’t own a home OR a chest freezer, but I like day dreaming of a time when this will be possible.
Fresh cherries are a true gift from mother nature. Tiny but mighty, they are the pinnacle of summer fruit for me. Their season is fleeting, but worth the tedious labor of love that is pitting them all. My personal favorite variety has always been Rainier cherries, even before I moved to Seattle. Seeing them on the grocery store shelves lets me know Summer is coming, even if the warm weather doesn’t follow until well after the 4th of July. June-uary and June Gloom can hit hard after 2 seasons of grey and rain, and cherries always shepherd in the warmth, even if it’s metaphorical. If you freeze your own cherries, don’t forget to pit them! Invest in an olive/cherry pitter or you will want to pull your hair out, trust me. Stalk your local grocery store for when they go on sale, buy 5 lbs., put on some jams and have yourself a pitting party. I don’t recommend listening to Elliot Smith though, or the pitting party will turn into a pity party.
If you have never had a Sonic slushie in the dead of summer, please do so. My personal favorite is the blue Powerade Slushie, which is maybe the most refreshing beverage on this earth. A close second is the Cherry Limeaide, and this drink is an homage to that. A true crowd pleaser, I always add the alcohol at the end in case there are children or folks who don’t drink alcohol. I know adding ice cubes to frozen drinks can seem taboo as it will water it down, but I guarantee this isn’t the case, and you can always add a little more rum if that’s your preference! Cherries don’t contain as much water as other berries, so they don’t freeze as hard. The ice helps get the slushie texture you’re looking for while you’re laying by the pool or getting the grill ready for the bbq. Fresh lime juice is imperative, as always, for me. If you can’t get your hands on fresh cherries to process and freeze, *Ina Garten Voice* store bought is fine. I kid, I kid, frozen cherries from the store work perfectly in this drink. If you go the fresh route, I would also recommend using at least half bing or red cherries. I love you, Rainier Cherries, I do, but you just don’t impart the color or flavor that bing cherries do. If you plan it right, in December or January, you can pull your last bag of fresh cherries out of the freezer, and have yourself a little piece of summer in the middle of winter.