In Your Glass: Tart Cherry Juice

Editor’s note:  Even though cherries are a typical symbol of summer, we included these tart cherry juice concoctions in our autumn issue because the time to get the freshest cherry juice is after their harvest, which lasts from late July to August.


As a young girl in Ephraim in the summer, I often tagged along with my grandfather on his Saturday morning errands. A trip to the dump or a chat session at the post office was usually followed by a stop at Koepsel’s Market to buy some fresh berries or cheese. There, a clear glass cooler of tart cherry juice sweated in the summer humidity, churning its contents and tempting thirsty shoppers. I would fill my small paper cup with that incomparable taste of Door County summer. Just thinking about it makes my mouth pucker.

Tart cherry juice packs a punch, both flavor and nutrition-wise. Health benefits associated with the beverage include soothing joint pain with its anti-inflammatory powers, inducing better sleep with its combination of melatonin and tryptophan, and preventing gout. It’s even touted as a sports drink that reduces pain in athletes during and after races.

In Door County, the top cherry producing county in the state, 95 percent of the cherry crop is made up of tart Montmorency cherries. Because cherry juice loses nutritional components and its unique flavor with too much processing, the best way to buy tart cherry juice is at its purest — in a glass bottle from a local cherry grower. Pick up some dried cherries while you’re at it to add to granola or a batch of cookies.

Thanks to this summer’s bountiful Door County cherry crop, there’s no shortage of tart cherry juice on shelves at local farm markets and cherry stands. Add a shot of Door County goodness to your day with these refreshing beverages or enjoy a chilled glass of cherry juice on its own.


Cherry Lemonade

Photo by Len Villano.


2 cups Montmorency cherry juice

juice of one or two lemons

¼ cup sugar or honey

3 cups sparkling water


In a saucepan, combine lemon juice and sugar/honey over medium heat until combined. In a large pitcher, combine sweet lemon mixture with cherry juice and sparkling water. Add ice, and serve garnished with lemon slices or tart cherries.


Cherry Mojitos

Photo by Len Villano.

Photo by Len Villano.


Serves 4

fresh mint leaves

two limes

8 oz white rum

2 cups Montmorency cherry juice

½ cup simple syrup*


club soda

In four cocktail glasses, place fresh mint leaves in bottom of glasses, squeeze half of a lime into each glass and smash with a cocktail muddler or handle of a wooden spoon. Add 2 oz rum, 1/3 cup cherry juice and a splash of simple syrup. Add ice and top with club soda, garnishing with a lime.

* For the simple syrup:

½ cup sugar

½ cup water

Combine the sugar and water in a saucepan and boil until sugar is dissolved. Simple syrup will keep for a week in the refrigerator.


Almond Cherry Smoothie

Photo by Len Villano.

Photo by Len Villano.


Serves 1

½ cup plain or Greek yogurt

½ cup Montmorency cherry juice

2 Tbsp almond butter

½ cup ice

Combine all ingredients in a blender and enjoy!

Article Comments