- 1 pound fresh cherries, stemmed and pitted, or frozen pitted cherries, thawed, undrained
Using a muddler or potato masher, smash cherries and sugar in a medium bowl to release juices (it's okay to leave some cherries whole). Stir in 3/4 cup hot water. Let stand until slightly cooled, stirring occasionally, about 30 minutes. Cover and chill. DO AHEAD Can be made 1 week ahead. Keep chilled.
Strain syrup before using, reserving cherries for garnish.