Love tart, tangy, and fruity drinks? Then you need to check out these tart cherry juice cocktails! From cherry-flavored riffs on classic cocktails to unique frozen drinks to summery fizzes, there’s a delicious cocktail that highlights tart cherry juice for every occasion and palate.
Tart cherry juice is a fantastic way to add the tangy flavor of sweet and sour cherries to your cocktails! Recently, tart cherry juice has become super trendy thanks to people on social media singing its praises as a sleep aid. Since its packed with antioxidants, it’s also said to have other health benefits, like helping with post-exercise muscle recovery and inflammation. Most importantly though, it’s a delicious, super versatile mixer that works wonderfully with pretty much every type of spirit! So if you like drinks that are bright and tangy, tart cherry juice is about to become your new favorite cocktail ingredient.
Tart cherry juice vs black cherry juice
It’s important to draw a distinction between tart cherry juice and black cherry juice, because they taste really different.
Tart cherry juice is made with Montmorency cherries, which are also referred to as sour cherries, while black cherry juice is made with sweeter black cherries. So as you can imagine, tart cherry juice is more sour in taste, and black cherry juice is sweeter.
All of these recipes expressly call for tart cherry juice, so make sure you’re buying a bottle that has “tart cherry juice” specified on the label. Otherwise, the drink will come out tasting very different than it’s supposed to.
Starting off, we have a fun riff on the classic Old Fashioned! Typically an Old Fashioned is made up of sugar, bitters, and whiskey, with an orange peel and cherry garnish. This recipe is a pretty far departure from the original because it uses equal parts whiskey to tart cherry juice. So it's a great cocktail for showcasing tart cherry juice as a star ingredient, and it'll be sweeter, tarter, and less spirit-forward than a classic Old Fashioned.
Ingredients: whiskey, tart cherry juice, lemon juice, maple syrup, Angostura bitters
This is a more unique riff on a tart cherry Old Fashioned that serves the cocktail as a frozen drink. Cocktail snobs might think this recipe is sacrilege, but I think it's a light-hearted, summery take on what's normally considered a "serious" drink. The key ingredient is no doubt the tart cherry juice, which you use to make ice cubes. Without it, the drink would fall a little flat served frozen, but blending it with ice made out of tart cherry juice makes it super flavorful. Texturally, it's exactly like a drive-thru slushy, but it tastes like a deliciously tart, cherry-forward Old Fashioned!
Here's another fun tart cherry variation on a classic cocktail! The Negroni is made with equal parts gin, Campari, and sweet vermouth. This version of the cocktail follows the classic recipe to a T, but adds in an ounce of tart cherry juice. The result is a slightly sweeter, fruitier Negroni that still has its signature bitter bite.
Ingredients: gin, Campari, sweet vermouth, tart cherry juice
Tart cherry juice is one of my favorite ways to zhuzh up the classic margarita! While I love more tropical juices in a marg, tart cherry juice gives the drink a more tangy, dark fruit flavor that's unbelievably tasty. Aside from tart cherry juice, this recipe sticks to the standard margarita recipe and has all the classic ingredients you know and love. It's also a big batch recipe, so it's a perfect drink for a crowd or you can easily scale it down!
Speaking of big batch cocktails, here's an easy vodka-based drink that would be wonderful for spring and summertime parties! Fizzes are always great for warm weather, and this one is no exception. It's refreshing, packed with flavor, and perfectly bubbly. As a bonus, it only requires 4 ingredients to make and whips up in seconds!
Ingredients: vodka, tart cherry juice, simple syrup, club soda
Though this recipe was made with July 4th in mind with its festive red color, it's an easy summertime cocktail I'd make for any warm weather get together! It's really easy to make and similar to the above fizz cocktail, but is topped off with Champagne instead of club soda to make it extra bubbly and boozy. It also adds in lime juice to give it more acidity.
Ingredients: vodka, tart cherry juice, lime juice, simple syrup, Champagne (or any sparkling wine)
Here's a red, white, and blue cocktail that's also great for July 4th or any summertime party! This is a slightly more elevated gin-based fizz that uses sour cherries muddled with sugar in place of simple syrup. Then you shake up the muddled cherries and sugar with tart cherry juice, egg white, and the other classic fizz ingredients. Top it off with club soda, and you have an elegant and impressive summertime cocktail!
Ingredients: gin, tart cherry juice, sour cherries, sugar, lemon juice, egg white, club soda, blueberries
A Manhattan is traditionally a simple cocktail comprised of whiskey, vermouth, and bitters that's topped off with a cherry. It's known for being spirit-forward with bitter and herbal flavors. This spin on the classic drink adds in tart cherry juice for a more fruity, tart, and easy drinking version of the cocktail. I personally like it with bourbon, but for a spicier, slightly less sweet drink, you could use rye whiskey instead!
Ingredients: bourbon or rye whiskey, tart cherry juice, sweet vermouth, Angostura bitters
Cherry limeade is so nostalgic for me since my grandma would always make it in the summertime, so naturally I'm always excited about an "adult" version of the drink! This is my all-time favorite boozy cherry limeade because it's not too sweet and has just the right amount of tartness. Vodka is also the ideal spirit for it because its more neutral taste allows the cherry limeade flavor to shine through!
Ingredients: vodka, tart cherry juice, sweet and sour mix, lime wedges, dried tart cherries, club soda
Gin and tonics are the ultimate two ingredient cocktail in my eyes, and it's always fun to experiment with the G&T template since tonic and gin work great with so many different flavors. The addition of tart cherry juice makes this refreshing, bright classic cocktail more tart, fruity, and summery!
Ingredients: gin, tonic, tart cherry juice, lime wedge
Sours are a great way to highlight the sour and sweet flavors of tart cherry juice! Typically sours are made with 2 parts spirit, 1 part acid, 1 part sweet, and sometimes egg white. Since tart cherry juice is both acidic and sweet, it plays two roles in this cocktail and gives it SO much flavor. It's frothy, cherry-forward, and dangerously drinkable.
Note: when I make this, I use half the amount of cherry juice it calls for because I think it makes it more balanced and prefer drier drinks, but you do you boo!
Ingredients: whiskey, tart cherry juice, lime juice, simple syrup, egg white
This recipe is a fun, halloween-inspired twist on the Dark and Stormy, which is a classic cocktail made with dark rum and ginger beer. Even though it was created with spooky season in mind, it has a refreshing, tropical taste that makes it just as good for spring and summer! It's spicy and bubbly from the ginger beer, sour and sweet from the tart cherry juice, and the dark rum rounds it all out with a boozy bite.
Ingredients: dark rum, tart cherry juice, ginger beer, lime juice, simple syrup, grenadine
The Caipirinha is the national cocktail of Brazil, and it's made with cachaça (Brazilian white rum), sugar, and lime juice. Since it's so simple, it's a fun cocktail to play off of and experiment with! This take on a Caipirinha involves making a mulled, spiced cherry juice, which is then combined with rum and lime juice. Its warm, spicy flavors make it fantastic for the holidays, but the rum and lime juice give it a tropical flair that make it just as appropriate for spring and summertime!
Ingredients: mulled cherry juice (tart cherry juice, sugar, cinnamon stick, star anise, black peppercorn), rum, lime juice
If you're looking for an easy-drinking, flavorful bourbon cocktail, give this recipe a try! The tart cherry juice and pomegranate juice go fantastically together and give the drink a base that's perfectly balanced between tart and sweet. The mint and lime then bring in fresh flavors to brighten it up, making it a wonderful bourbon cocktail for sipping on the porch when it's hot outside!
Here's another cocktail that leverages the wonderful flavor combination of tart cherry juice, bourbon, and mint! A smash is a muddled cocktail that's similar to the mint julep, but with a more flexible template that includes citrus and often seasonal fruit. This take on a smash uses lime along with tart cherry juice and peach puree for a unique, fruity, and refreshing summertime cocktail.
This frozen riff on a Cosmo is almost too pretty to drink... almost. The Cosmo, or Cosmopolitan, is perhaps best known as Carrie Bradshaw's go-to cocktail on the TV show Sex & The City, and is made with vodka, orange liqueur, cranberry juice, and lime juice. This variation adds in tart cherry juice and serves it frozen for a tangy, summery take on the cocktail. It's super fun for a girl's brunch, or anytime you need a delicious, show-stopping frozen drink for a crowd!
Ingredients: vodka, Grand Marnier, cranberry juice, tart cherry juice, lime juice
Who doesn't love a good frosé?? Frosé is pretty much what it sounds like: rosé blended with ice and usually a fruit to give it extra flavor and texture. You can use a wide range of different fruits in frosé, but tart cherry is one of my favorites since it complements the cherry flavors you'll find in most rosés and adds a perky tartness.
Ingredients: rosé, tart cherry juice, frozen tart cherries, sugar, salt
Love citrusy, sweet, tart, and bright cocktails? Then you've gotta try this variation on a Lemon Drop! The classic Lemon Drop contains vodka, lemon juice, orange liqueur, and simple syrup with a sugar rim. This recipe leaves out the orange liqueur and adds in tart cherry juice, which enhances the fruity, tart flavors of the cocktail. And let me tell you -- it is SO good. Seriously, I want tart cherry juice to be a staple ingredient in the Lemon Drop. That's how good it is.
Ingredients: vodka, lemon wedges, lemon juice, tart cherry juice, sugar
This cocktail screams "holiday" to me! It has a warm spiciness from bourbon and cinnamon liqueur, dark fruit flavors from the tart cherry juice, and is topped off with lemon lime soda to give it a bubbly, festive flair. If you need a pre-Christmas or Thanksgiving dinner cocktail that's easy to make and everyone will love, this one definitely fits the bill!
This is another recipe that's easy to make and super fun for the holiday season! It's a holiday-inspired spin on a Moscow Mule, which is a cocktail comprised of vodka, lime juice, and ginger beer. In this recipe, you add in tart cherry juice, rosemary, and pomegranate seeds to make it extra tart, fruity, and festive!
This sangria is packed with summertime flavors of cherry, raspberry, and orange, and the perfect intersection of sweet and tart! Though it's dark in color, it's actually made with rosé, along with a few fruit liqueurs, including Chambord and Cherry Herring, which give it an extra boozy kick and depth of flavor.
Ingredients: rosé, Chambord, Cherry Herring, tart cherry juice, orange juice, sweet cherries, lime slices, orange slices, club soda