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The Cherry Popper

Check out our exclusive lean summer cocktail

1/2 fresh ripe lime, quartered
4 fresh bing cherries
1 oz simple syrup
1 1/2 oz Ketel One vodka

To Make:
[1] Muddle lime, cherries, and syrup

[2] Add vodka and ice

[3] Shake vigorously

[4] Serve

Drink Tips
When buying limes, look for brightly colored, smooth-skinned fruit that's heavy for its size. "Small brown spots won't affect flavor, but avoid limes that feel hard when squeezed," says Aliza Green, author of The Field Guide to Produce. "Hard fruits are filled with pulp and have very little juice," she says.

For the more adventurous: Try lacing the bottom of your glass with 1/2 oz of acai juice, available at natural-food markets. In addition to being a powerful antioxidant, acai adds color to the drink. And by putting it in the bottom of the glass, you'll get a variety of flavors as you drink.

The simple syrup used in most drink recipes is basically just sugar water. For a leaner option, mix 4 tbsp of Splenda with 4 tbsp of water in a saucepan. Bring to a boil, stirring constantly until Splenda dissolves. Refrigerate and use as needed.

After berries, cherries are one of the healthiest fruits you can eat. Researchers at Michigan State found that the tart fruit may relieve pain more effectively than aspirin. More recently, they've also found that cherries can help in the fight against diabetes, arthritis, and heart disease.

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