Wednesday, June 18, 2008

drinks for non-drinkers

It's still too effing hot to cook in our apartment. We've managed to boil water for pasta but other than that, it's just been salad, salad, salad. Whose genius idea was it to start this blog at the beginning of summer, anyway? Oh, right.

Even if it's too muggy to summon an appetite, you can at least enjoy a cool drink. There are many people in my life who avoid alcohol for various reasons so I'm always on the lookout for interesting beverages without liquor. And all the better if they can also double as delicious mixers. Here's two party-tested recipes that are my latest favorites:

Basil lemonade

An herbal twist on a summertime classic. You could also substitute mint, thyme, or lavender for the basil.

(Serves about 6 people)

1 1/2 cups lemon juice
1 cup sugar
1 cup water, plus 5 cups cold water (regular or sparkling)
A handful of basil leaves, plus additional for garnish

Combine sugar, 1 cup water, and basil leaves in a pan over medium heat, stirring until the sugar is dissolved. Remove from the heat and set aside until cool. When cool, remove the basil leaves, squeezing their juice into the syrup. Juice the lemons into a pitcher. Add the basil syrup and 5 cups of water. Refrigerate until cold. Serve with ice and extra basil leaves in each glass.


- Mix half lemonade with half sparkling wine (Prosecco, Cava, Champagne, etc.)
- Add a shot of vodka and a splash of sparkling wine
- A shot of light rum, gin, or vodka
- A shot of limoncello

Watermelon aguas frescas
(Serves about 6 people)
This drink was inspired by the thirst-quenching fruit drinks served by Latin American food vendors at the fantastic Red Hook soccer fields in Brooklyn. Many stands serve a colorful array of fruit juices—lime, cantaloupe, pineapple, tamarind—ladled out of big glass jars.

6 cups cold watermelon, cut into chunks
1 lime, juiced
1 1-inch piece of ginger, sliced into rounds
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup water

Combine sugar, water, and ginger in a pan over medium heat, stirring until the sugar is dissolved. Remove from the heat and set aside until cool. When cool, remove the pieces of ginger from the syrup. In a blender, puree the watermelon until it is a smooth liquid. Add the syrup and lime juice and blend until combined. Refrigerate until very cold and serve with ice, if desired.

- A shot of light rum, tequila, Midori, or vodka
- Blend with ice, a shot of tequila, and a shot of triple sec to make a watermelon margarita
- Add a shot of light rum, a squeeze of lime, and a few mint sprigs for a mojito(ish?) drink
- Combine half aguas frescas with half sparkling wine

I need more ideas! What are your favorite summer drinks?


Daniel said...

As the primary non-drinker in your life, I thank you for the non-alcoholic refreshment! Basil lemonade: yum.

Lisa said...

if only I could figure out your pomegranate limeade...

Colin P. Delaney said...

Booze-less "cocktails" are like fish on bicycles.

That's all I'm saying.

Lisa said...

Well, this is coming from someone who needs a shot of vodka in his morning OJ.

Daniel said...

Whisky, I think. It's called "Irish breakfast," right, Colin?

(I'm going to apologize immediately before this escalates.)


Blog Widget by LinkWithin