Alcohol-free wild cherry and star anise cordial recipe

  • Makes about 600ml

Bring some spice to your celebrations with this fruity alcohol-free cordial recipe created by Fiona Beckett

Our rating 
4.0 out of 5 star rating 4.0
Wild cherry and star anise cordial

Wild or sour cherries have a lovely tart flavour and a beautiful deep colour that makes a stunning-looking summer drink, one of my favourites in the book. Obviously it depends how many wild cherries you can get your hands on – you don’t need to work exactly to this recipe, just roughly these proportions.

If you can’t find wild cherries you could use other fresh cherries when in season or frozen cherries at a pinch, but the flavour won’t be quite as wonderful.



  • Wild cherries 600g
  • Star anise 1, broken into pieces
  • Granulated sugar 250g, you need the sugar to be just over half the quantity of liquid
  • Soda or sparkling water to serve


  • Step 1

    Pick over the cherries, removing the stalks and discarding any damaged or broken ones. Tip into a colander, rinse and then weigh the fruit.


  • Step 2

    Transfer the cherries to a saucepan, cover with water and add the star anise. Bring gradually up to boiling point, then simmer for about 15 minutes.


  • Step 3

    Remove the star anise, then strain the liquid through a fine sieve into a large measuring jug, pressing down on the cherries to break them and extract their juice. Check the quantity of liquid – I ended up with 500ml (18fl oz) – and pour back into the pan. Add the sugar and heat over a low heat, stirring occasionally, until it has completely dissolved. Bring to the boil, then simmer for 2 minutes.


  • Step 4

    Take off the heat, skim off any froth on the surface and leave for 10 minutes to settle. Pour the cordial through a funnel into a sterilised bottle. Seal, cool and store in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks. Alternatively, freeze in plastic tubs for up to 3 months.


  • Step 5

    To serve, dilute to taste with soda or sparkling water.

This recipe is from How to Drink Without Drinking by Fiona Beckett. Published by Kyle Books. Photography: Nassima Rothacker.