It’s that time of year….the sun is out, people are barbecuing & we finally get to wear our cute summer dresses, ladies!
This can only mean one thing: It is crucial to have a few summer cocktail recipes up your sleeve for the next event you attend!
Side note: These are NOT “clean” or “whole 30″, but sometimes, you just have to indulge a little :)
THE WATERMELON TEQUILA COCKTAIL:
1/4 cup water
1/4 cup granulated sugar
8 cups diced seedless watermelon (1 pound)
1/4 cup fresh lime juice
1 3/4 cups blueberries
3/4 cup lightly packed fresh mint leaves, plus 8 sprigs for garnish
1 1/4 cups silver tequila
1) In a small saucepan, bring the water to a simmer with the sugar and stir over moderate heat until the sugar is dissolved, about 1 minute; let the sugar syrup cool.
2) In a blender, puree the watermelon until smooth. Set a fine-mesh strainer over a bowl and strain the watermelon juice, pressing gently on the solids to extract as much juice as possible. Discard the pulp.
In a large pitcher, combine the sugar syrup with the lime juice, blueberries and mint leaves. Using a wooden spoon, lightly muddle the 3) blueberries and mint. Add the watermelon juice and tequila. Refrigerate until chilled, about 2 hours.
4) Pour the cocktail into tall ice-filled glasses. Garnish with the mint sprigs and serve.
THE BLUEBERRY CUCUMBER GIMLET:
1/4 cup blueberries, more for garnish
8-10 slices cucumber, more for garnish
1 fl. oz. (15ml) fresh lime juice
1 fl. oz. (15ml) simple syrup (recipe follows)
2 fl. oz. (30ml) gin
1. Add blueberries and cucumber into a shaker and smash several times with the muddler until juices are released; add lime juice, syrup, and gin, and top with ice cubes. Cap the shaker and shake vigorously until well combined, about 20-30 seconds.
2. Pour mixture into glass, half-filled with ice. Garnish with cucumber slices and blueberries. Serve chilled.
WHITE PEACH, LAVENDER SODA:
1 cup water, plus more to fill the bottle
3/4 cup sugar
1 1/2 tablespoons fresh lavender flowers (1 tablespoon dried lavender flowers)
1 pound very ripe white peaches
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon champagne yeast or baker’s yeast
Need: one clean 1-liter plastic soda bottle with screw-on cap
1) Bring the water to a boil in a small saucepan on the stovetop or in the microwave. Remove from heat and add the sugar and lavender flowers. Stir to dissolve to sugar. Let stand for 20 minutes to infuse the sugar water with lavender.
2) Wash and roughly chop the peaches. It is not necessary to peel them. Strain the lavender flowers and pour the infused sugar water over the fruit. Add the lemon juice and salt, and stir to combine. Let this stand for 10 minutes to macerate the fruit.
3) Working in batches, puree the peaches with the sugar-water in the food processor or blender. Strain the puree into a bowl, collecting as much juice as possible without forcing any solids through the strainer. You can also strain the juice through a flour sack towel or cheesecloth to yield a cleaner soda. You should end up with 1 1/2 to 2 cups concentrated fruit syrup.
4) At this point, you could stop, refrigerate the syrup, and add it to a glass of sparkling water to taste. To naturally carbonate the soda with yeast (you intrepid brewer you!), proceed onward.
5) Pour the juice into a clean 1-liter plastic soda bottle using a funnel (see note). Top off the bottle with water, leaving about an inch and a half of head room. Give it a taste and add more lemon juice or sugar if desired. The extra sugar will dissolve on its own.
6) Add the yeast. Screw on the cap and shake the bottle to dissolve and distribute the yeast. Let the bottle sit at room temperature out of direct sunlight for 12 to 48 hours. Exact fermentation time will depend on the temperature in the room. Check the bottle periodically; when it feels rock-solid with very little give, it’s ready.
7 )Refrigerate overnight or for up to 2 weeks. Open very slowly over a sink to release the pressure gradually and avoid bubble-ups.
*photo credit: E. Christensen
Now, close your laptop and go make yourself a DELICIOUS summer cocktail, sit on your porch & watch the sun go down!
*photo credit of personal picture: Inkspot Photography