Long story: The two youngest sons and their friends on spring break from college, enticing commercials, Internet search for the closest Sonic Drive In, six-hour round trip that they said was worth it for the cherry limeade sodas, concocting their own versions with Sprite, limes and bottled neon cherry juice, and a hostess gift of a bottle of Maraska cherry liqueur. Hmmm. . .I could make cherry limeades like Sonic does, then add some gin and the liqueur. The alcohol is totally optional--you can flavor the limeade with juice from a bottle of maraschino cherries to insure you won't "fall down and go boom."
(Martha Stewart's method of pitting cherries: Unfold a metal paper clip so that it looks like an "S." Insert the small curve of the paper clip through the bottom of the cherry. Twist and wiggle the paper clip to loosen the pit. Pull the pit out.)
fresh-squeezed lime juice; reserve lime halves for garnish
gin or vodka
maraschino liqueur, such as Maraska or Luxardo
Crushed ice, preferably store-bought
club soda, seltzer or other carbonated water
Make a simple syrup by heating the water and sugar in a small saucepan, stirring until the sugar dissolves. Let cool to room temperature.
In a large (2-quart minimum) glass pitcher, stir together the simple syrup, lime juice and lime halves. Refrigerate for at least two hours, until well-chilled
At serving time, fill tall glasses halfway with ice. Remove lime syrup from refrigerator and place a lime half in each glass. Add gin and maraschino liqueur to pitcher and stir. Pour club soda into pitcher and stir gently. Fill glasses, garnish each glass with a cherry, insert straws and serve immediately.