Strawberry Lemonade makes a pitcher-full so it’s fun to do for parties, barbecues and picnics. Depending on the time of year, I have used both fresh strawberries and frozen with excellent results. If I’m making this for kids, I blend it until it’s completely smooth. Children are notorious for being picky about suspicious chunks in their drinks. Adults usually enjoy a bit of texture. The mint is just a garnish so I wouldn’t use that unless I already had some.
A cold whiskey sour makes a nice post-dinner cocktail. It’s a little bit tart, and a little bit sweet, making it a good sipping drink and a suitable dessert when no brownies are at hand. Cherry Bomb by Eastside Distillery in Portland, OR is my favorite whiskey to use, but when we are out of the Cherry Bomb, we also enjoy this made with regular whiskey.
2 oz whiskey
1 oz fresh lemon juice, strained
1 1/2 oz Simple Syrup
Serve in a tumbler over plenty of ice. Makes one drink.
Mulled Wine is a great hot beverage to pull out for a party or a family holiday gathering. I make this in the crock pot and let it sit on low. It doesn’t take too long for the ingredients to come together and become drinkable, and then it stays hot for the rest of the party. During the fall and winter, when people are always fighting cold and flu viruses, or just getting over them, a hot drink at the beginning of a party always goes over well. This version is on the sweet side, but I like it that way.
Simple Syrup is, forgive me, extremely simple to make. Somewhere along the way, I got the impression that it was something complicated, a mysterious wonder created by perfect ratios and the perfect temperature. However, I couldn’t have been more wrong. In fact, you don’t even have to cook it. If you have an hour or two at home, you can just let it sit there and dissolve at room temperature while you do other things. We use our Simple Syrup the most often in drinks, so we make it double-strength so that it doesn’t water down the drink too much. This recipe will make the right amount to nearly fill an empty 750 ml bottle. My favorite bottles to re-use for this kind of purpose are empty, clean Vodka 360 bottles.
4 C granulated sugar
2 C cold water
In a bowl, stir together the water and the sugar. Leave on the counter at room temperature. Stir periodically, every 20 minutes or so, for two hours, or until the sugar is completely dissolved. Store in the refrigerator in a glass container.
Berry Banana Smoothie, according to my notes, is adapted from a Cooking Light recipe. For the life of me, I can’t figure out which recipe it was originally. Given that, I will simply give you my recipe and be done with it. My apologies to Cooking Light. For an icy treat, use frozen berries and frozen banana. The milk can be whatever you like to drink. I have used everything from almond milk and rice milk, to goat’s milk. If your blender is challenged, like my old one used to be, start with the wet ingredients and add the frozen fruit gradually.
Berry Banana Smoothie
1 C berries
1/2 C milk
2 tsp honey
2 tsp vanilla extract
Blend all ingredients until smooth.
Makes 2 roughly 1 cup servings.
Lemonade is one of those things that people used to know how to do off the top of their head, but that kind of food knowledge is becoming more and more rare all the time. Somewhere along the line, I got the impression that you need piles of lemons to make lemonade. Since I live in the Northwest, where lemons can easily run $1 each, I have always dismissed the idea of homemade lemonade as something that was out of reach for me. However, I learned more recently that you only need piles of lemons to make an entire pitcher of lemonade. One good-sized lemon will make enough lemonade for my family of four. Sometimes my husband and I will add vodka as well. I’ve looked around on-line, and every recipe I found for lemonade was for a big pitcher. Our own recipe makes a single tall glass, perfect for that summer night when you just want one glass to go with dinner. Anymore, I buy my lemons by the bag at our local big-box store, especially in the summertime when citrus drinks taste so refreshing. It is my dream to have a lemon tree in my backyard, but alas, they simply don’t grow here.
2 Tbs fresh lemon juice
2 Tbs simple syrup
Plain seltzer water
Mix the lemon juice and the simple syrup in a tall glass. Fill with ice. Pour plain seltzer water over the top and stir. Enjoy!
A Japanese Slipper is a slightly tart, slightly sweet cocktail that makes a fantastic summertime after-dinner drink. This particular recipe calls for brand-name high-end liqueurs, but this cocktail is great even made with cheaper alcohols. Midori is the brand name for a melon liqueur. You can also use the less expensive, Dekuyper’s melon liqueur. Cointreau is the brand name for an orange liqueur. You can also use less expensive triple-sec, which comes in a variety of brands and prices. Lastly, you will need fresh lemon juice. If you juice fresh lemons, limes and oranges with any regularity, I highly recommend the Cilio Commercial Grade Citrus Press. It comes with a hefty price tag and takes a bit of counter space, but we have enjoyed ours immensely.