Remove cherry pits using a cherry pitter and set cherries aside.
In a medium-sized saucepan over medium-high heat, add everything except the cherries.
Bring to a boil.
Reduce the heat and simmer until the sugar has dissolved, stirring periodically.
Add the cherries.
Simmer on low heat for 10 minutes or until the syrup has a bit of a cherry flavor. (Yes, tasting is part of the recipe.) You don't want to cook the cherries - you just want to bring out some of their flavor.
Remove the pan from the heat and transfer the entire contents to a bowl (so it doesn't continue cooking).
Let cool to room temperature.
Transfer to an airtight container and refrigerate.
Wait about three days and then top your cupcakes, shakes, ice cream sodas, sundaes, Shirley Temples, and anything else you can think of with them. The cherries last for a couple of weeks in the refrigerator.
The recipe above is for the kid-friendly cherries. Follow the instructions in my post on Luxardo cherries if you are interested in making the alcoholic version.