Summer means fresh food: basil and mint, tomatoes, cucumbers, salads. Summer means slowing down to beat the heat. Lazy afternoons beneath the shade tree, reading, watching the kids run around. Relaxing with guests. Grilling. Freezie Pops and cool drinks.
After a brutal winter summer has finally come, and my brood and I are trying to make the most of it, and I bet you are, too. And as idyllic as it all sounds, at times it's hard for me to just calm down and be. To be present to my kids (that's starting to be a theme, isn't it?). To not feel guilt if I'm not busy, busy. To be content to hold a baby that won't go to sleep or to choose a trip to the playground over completing a blog post.
How to solve this inner angst... I don't know, I just keep reminding myself that my biggest responsibility right now is to these littles. And alcohol. Just kidding. Sort of. What I mean is that alcohol is part of it, one small part of creating and living summer rituals. Of responding to the changes in weather and environment, interacting with them and with each other in meaningful ways.
You may have caught the post two Fridays ago about summer cocktails. Since then I have been playing around with various ingredients, and I have come up with a formula that can be used with whatever you have on hand. It's a little less boozy but just as fresh and even more refreshing for the days that are turning hot, hot, hot.
I hope you like it!
The Perfect Summer Cocktail
Gin or Vodka
Basil or Mint
Lemon or Lime
Fruit: Strawberries, Blueberries, Peaches, you name it
Simple Syrup (equal parts sugar and water, boiled together to dissolve)
The Formula: 2 ounces alcohol + 1 ounce simple syrup + juice of lemon or lime + five leaves basil or mint + club soda
Muddle (i.e. crush using a muddler or the back of a spoon) the herb leaves in the lemon/lime juice. Pour into a shaker. Add alcohol, simple syrup, and ice. Shake. Strain into a Tom Collins glass (or a martini glass). Mash some really ripe fruit and add. Fill glass with cold club soda. Now take it outside, and enjoy!