I want it down on record that August 11, 2018 is the perfect summer day.
My first criteria: it must be sunny. The second criteria: it must NOT be humid. Add to the above, that perfect temperature of 28C (80F) Bonuses: birds chirping, flowers blooming, sailboats sailing, a slight breeze, a shady tree, the smell of bbq, I could go on, but you get my point, right?
If you have a backyard, you must be in it. Relaxing on a chaise lounge, or in a hammock, listening to music, and being totally useless. In the best possible way! If you don’t have a backyard, balcony or boat, you should ideally be walking down a bustling city street, exploring a new neighbourhood, until that perfect restaurant patio appears, inviting you to sit and order a cocktail. Sitting under an umbrella, people watching and nibbling on guac and chips and sipping on margaritas or sangria, does it get any better than this, summer in the city?
Most of us have our favourite summer drinks. Depending on how old we are, it may be Kool-Aid, but that’s all right!! For sure we’ve all had lemonade at one point in our lives. Whether to quench the thirst, or to get our entrepreneurial chops honed! I always found the lemonade as a kid rather sickly sweet. Which confused me, it is made of lemons, right? So as I got older, and had total control over the amount of sugar went into dishes, this is one that I tackled early on.
There is something so charming and old-fashioned about lemonade. It makes me think of books and movies set at the turn of the last century. At one point, (if the story took place in the summer) someone or a whole group was usually found sitting on a big wrap around porch with a swing and wicker chairs, enjoying glasses of freshly squeezed lemonade. Such a genteel time! They were content to spend the afternoon or evening that way. No deciding which movie to go see, what concert to attend, if they should go inside and play with their x-boxes, or watch something on Netflix. They were happy to visit, and maybe pull out a guitar or play something on the victrola. Okay, I crossed the line there! I know, I probably sound 80, trying to relive my long lost youth. But I’m NOT. I just think we have lost the joy in the simple things. And one of them is lemonade!! hehe.
So here is my recipe for lemonade. Except it isn’t just lemonade. It’s lemon-lime-ade. But that’s a pain to write and say. So, I’m still calling it lemonade. It’s basically equal portions of lemon and lime juice made from squeezing fresh citrus. I love the idea of using both, as opposed to just using lemons. The limes add a softer tartness.
How much fruit you will need will depend on two things: the size of the lemons and limes; and how you will be squeezing the juice out. If you are using a simple hand held reamer of some sort, you will only get so much. If you are using a crank juicer, like the one I use, you will probably get twice as much from each lemon. If you are using an electric citrus juicer, you will also get quite a bit more. Anyway, I’m going to say, you will need at least 3 of each. But be prepared with more, just in case. The juice will get added to a good blender, along with 4 cups of water and 1 cup of ice, and sugar. So here is where you have total control (which we love having, amirite!?) You can go as high as 2/3- 3/4 cup of sugar. If you want more, it will be more sweet than lemony, and then what’s the point? I actually am happy with 1/2 cup of sugar. I feel it is sweet enough so that the tartness isn’t the only thing that stands out when you take a sip. But you still know you are drinking lemonade. Because it’s good to be able to find a reliable and perfect summer lemonade, I will add this recipe to the Pantry section of the blog. It is a basic that can be turned to again and again, both by children and adults, as we are about to find out!
There’s usually a jug or bottle of this in the door of the fridge all summer long. And when it comes time that we want something with a little more oomph, (read: alcohol) this makes for a great mixer. Tequila works great with this lemonade. So does vodka. White rum…just about anything, eh?! But my favourite is gin. I love to take mint and cucumber and muddle it, add some fresh gin (The Botanist is my fave!) and then top it off with this lemonade. Add a slice of cucumber, and it is the perfect drink to have poolside, or with a good book as you sit under the shade of a tree or umbrella.
Here’s hoping we have a few more of these days before they turn. There’s never a date on the calendar telling us it’s coming, but suddenly it happens: the evenings get cooler and the mornings are crisp. Suddenly there are two seasons in one day again. And that’s when we know that school is around the corner.
Gin and Cucumber Lemonade
Freshly squeezed lemons and limes become a fabulous summer thirst quenching lemonade. Add muddled mint and cucumber and gin, and you've got a refreshing summer drink!
- 3-4 medium lemons
- 4-5 limes
- 1/2 - 3/4 cup granulated sugar
- 4 cups filtered water
- 1 cup ice cubes
Gin and Cucumber Lemonade:
- Makes one
- 3-4 mint leaves
- 1 tbsp chopped cucumber
- 1 oz fine gin
- ice cubes
Using a reamer, juicer or press, squeeze out 1 cup of fresh juice from the lemons and limes. Aim for 1/2 cup of each.
Place the freshly squeezed juice into a good blender
Add the sugar
Pour in the water and add the ice.
Blend until the ice has been turned to slush, and everything is frothy.
Store in a sealed container or jug.
Gin and Cucumber Lemonade
Take the mint leaves and chopped cucumber and place at the bottom of a glass.
Use a muddler to crush the mint leaves and cucumber into a rough pulp.
Alternatively, you can do this in a mortar and pestle and then transfer to a glass.
Pour 1 oz of gin over the muddled mixture.
Add 3-4 ice cubes.
Top with lemonade.