BOOZY AFTERNOON SNACK MENU: Deviled Eggs; Pigs in a Blanket; Turkey Pepperjack Melts; Chocolate-Bottomed Blondies
When I pass a lemonade stand (a rare enough occurrence these days) and I notice that the kids are simply pouring Minute Maid into little cups and selling Enteman’s soft chocolate chip cookies, no matter how cute the young entrepreneurs, I feel anger welling up. When I was a kid, we made lemonade for lemonade stands from scratch! Still, as a grown-up, no amount of anger can prevent me from feeling guilty that I’ve just been biking by and consequently have no money with which to buy re-packaged Minute Maid from the kids.
Fresh Lemonade is a quintessential summertime drink, and it’s really not so hard to make. What’s more, when you make lemonade at home, you can customize it exactly to your taste: if you’re a sourpuss, go easy on the sugar syrup, and if you can’t take too much lemon, ease the flavor with a bit more water. And, unlike at a lemonade stand, here you’ll find a spiked variety too.
From my kitchen, puckered up, to yours,
Cara, THE QUARTER-LIFE COOK
Lemonade, Spiked or Sober
Makes 4-5 cups
3/4 cup sugar
4 large pieces of lemon zest
1 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice (from about 8 lemons)
6 ounces vodka
Make a simple syrup by combining the sugar, zest, and 3/4 cup of water in a small saucepan. Over medium-high heat, cook until the sugar dissolves. When the mixture bubbles, turn the heat down and simmer for 2-3 minutes, just until it becomes slightly more syrupy. Remove from the heat and let the syrup steep for 15 more minutes, then remove the lemon zest.
Combine the lemon juice and the sugar syrup in a large bowl or pitcher. Add 2 1/2 cups of water. If you’re making spiked lemonade, add 4 shots of vodka. If you’re keeping it virgin, add another 1/2 cup to 1 cup water, tasting as you go to achieve your preferred degree of tanginess.
Serve over plenty of ice, garnished with mint leaves and lemon slices.