In the summer months when it’s scorching hot in Greece, there is one thing that is never hard to find. A refreshing drink made with a sour cherry syrup called visinada. Refreshing and delicious, it can be used to create some spectacular summer alcohol drinks but is just as good mixed with cold water.

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8 cups sour cherries
3 cups sugar
1 tablespoon lemon juice

Boil the sour cherries in water for 10 minutes. Drain into a sieve. Using the back of a large spoon, press the cherries through the sieve, leaving the cherry juice. Some pulp may make it through, but this will be removed after the syrup is reduced.

In a large pot, place the cherry juice (8 cups of sour cherries makes approximately 4 cups of juice) along with the sugar and lemon juice. Bring to a slow boil and skim any foam that is at the top. Continue to cook until the syrup has thickened and reduced by half.

Once thickened, pass through a sieve a second time to remove any pulp that may have been in the syrup. Keep refrigerated in a tightly sealed bottle for up to 2 months. Makes 2 cups syrup.

Alcoholic drinks to make with visinada

Gin Sling

1 cups gin
1/4 cup Cointreau
1/4 cup lemon juice
1 cup visinada
Sparkling water
Lemon slices
Maraschino cherries

In a pitcher, combine the gin with the Cointreau, lemon juice, visinada and stir well. Pour into ice-filled glasses and top each drink with sparkling water. Garnish with the lemon slices and maraschino cherries and serve. Makes 6 drinks.

Watermelon Slushie

5 cups liquefied watermelon
1 cup visinada
1 cup vodka
Ice (fill blender)
Lemon slices
Maraschino cherries

In a blender, liquify the watermelon. Add the ice, visinada and vodka. Add ice and crush to a slushie consistency. Garnish with lemon slice and maraschino cherries. Makes 6 drinks.


1 bottle dry red wine
1 cup visinada
1/2 cup liqueur*
1 cup frozen cherries
1 apple, sliced
1 orange sliced
1 cup raspberries

Mix together wine and visinada. Add liqueur of choice (orange, raspberry or kirsch). Mix well. Add fruits and chill until ready to serve. Serve over ice. Serves 4 to 6.

All American

6 oz grenadine
6 oz visinada
1 cup lemonade
6 oz vodka
6 oz blue curacao
Lemon wedges

Mix grenadine with visinada and add to a glass. Fill six glasses with ice. In a shaker, shake the lemonade and the vodka then gently pour the mixture over the back of a spoon equally into the six glasses creating the white layer of the drink. Cascade 1 oz of the blue curacao over the back of a spoon to make the final blue layer. Makes 6 drinks.

Cherry Martini

6 oz vodka
6 oz cherry brandy
6 oz visinida
Splash lemon juice
Mint garnish
Fruit garnish

In an ice filled shaker combine the vodka, cherry brandy, lemon juice and visinada. Shake well. Strain the mixture into six martini glasses and garnish with fresh fruit and mint. Makes 6 drinks.

Lightly Spiked Visinada Fizz

3 oz brandy
6 oz visinida
1 cup sparkling water
Splash lemon juice
Lemon slices
Crushed ice

In an ice filled shaker combine the brandy and visinada. Shake well. Strain the mixture equally into a six glasses filled with crushed ice. Top with sparkling water and garnish with lemon slices. Makes 6 drinks.

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