Here is how we found our way to the best lemonade yet.
“Are you open for lunch?” I asked. It was 12:01 at the Pig Bar in Saugerties, New York.
“We are. We just are.” The bar there is huge: high, wide, and thirty feet long. The voice came from a little girl. Pretty and energetic, she showed Suzen and me to a table. “Any table,” she said. We were the first customers of the day.
By chance, I asked her, “Do you have lemonade?”
“I’ll make you some.”
In the midst of a very good Crabcake sandwich, I had still another request: “Can I have more.”
Suzen had tasted my beverage and smiled. “Not too sweet! That’s better for you.” And I loved the flavor.
We asked how she made it, we watched her, and now here is the recipe.
Yield: 1 ½ cups, enough for one large beverage
- 1 lemon
- 1 cup of cold water
- ½ cup simple sugar syrup [or less if your wife is watching]
- Ice cubes
Wash the lemon and cut off the ends. Slice the lemon into 4-6 thin slices. The operative word here is thin.
Put two of the slices in the bottom of a cocktail shaker and muddled them to pieces. Truly, into lemon mush. Then add two more slices and repeat. Continue until all the slices are in fragments.
Why not muddle them all at once? You can do a much better job two slices at a time.
Add the water and sugar syrup. Cover and shake.
Pour into a tall glass. You can strain out the lemon fragments as you pour, or let some in, or let them all in and then pull a few of the chuncks out.
Add ice and stir. Allow to sit for a couple of minutes then enjoy. Garnish with mint if you desire.
Source: Brian O’Rourke inspired by that nameless, talented bartender
Suzen came right up to me, gave me a kiss, and said, “Sweetie, we need to talk. Sit down.”
“I didn’t do it,” I said. The best starting step is simply to deny everything. Open one little crack and you are dead. Ask any defense attorney.
“No, it’s not that,” she reassured me. “You have a choice to make.”
A choice? A choice? Was this going to be what kind of cheese on my burger? How mocha the frosting should be? How many cheese croutons on the Caesar salad?
I was hopeful. Then she gave up one of her “tells.” She shifted her head a little to the right. Here it came.
“You have to choose between separate beds and separate refrigerators.” There was no warmth in her smile.
“I don’t understand,” I said. I didn’t.
“Come with me.”
We walked into the kitchen. She opened the refrigerator door and like the hostess on a TV game show let her arm arc over the two main shelves.
“Shall we inventory?” she asked.
One by one, the largest containers came out. Suzen put them on the marble top on our central island.
Two Prosecos, lying on their side.
One big heavy cream, two small ones.
One plain sugar syrup, quart container.
One mint syrup, quart container.
One two-quart glass pitcher of lemonade, half full.
One two-quart pitcher of strawberry lemonade, newly made and still chilling.
“Okay,” I said. I get the point.
“Do you?” she questioned.
“It’s time for compromise,” I said. “Of course, you do use the cream, too. And the Proseco.”
I put my arm down on the central island and made the great division: “our” stuff and “Brian’s” stuff. “Now, we don’t have room for another refrigerator, and if I go to a separate bed it will either be with the mice in the basement or the squirrels in a tent on the deck outside.”
“Ah, you understand,” Suzen said.
“And you understand it is snowing outside?”
“We all face choices in life, Brian. I’m sure you’ll find a solution.”
The culprit in this is the lemonade. Those big pitchers are fine, but they take up space. And they tempt me to drink lots and lots of lemonade when maybe, just maybe, one glass would do it.
What’s the solution? Well, there are many solutions. I’ve been experimenting with ‘ades of all types: limeade, lemonade, lime + lemon, grapefruit, lime + grapefruit.
I have found a solution: make the ‘ade one glass at a time. My solution is quick and delicious. All you need in advance is one medium container of simple sugar syrup in your refrigerator.
Fortuitously, I recently I blogged about how to make that syrup so that the sugar does not begin to harden at the bottom of the container [make the syrup with equal amounts of sugar and water!].
The recipe below fashions a wonderful limeade, fresh and tangy but with enough sweetness to satisfy anyone. Yes, you can decrease the amount of syrup if you want. And you can top it off with club soda, too.
Here is where the variations come into play. It literally is play. Besides using two limes, I have tried the juice of one lemon. Or, you can add the juice of one grapefruit for a dizzying polished beverage. I really like this one. You can mix and match the juice of all these in whatever proportions you like:
Just make sure to combine some sour with sweet. So I do the lime + grapefruit combo, for example.
I haven’t mentioned the “V” word at all. I drink these beverages virgin during the day. But at night, you can add vodka. Either straight or flavored. There are orange, lemon, lime, and grapefruit vodkas you apply, to the degree you prefer, to spike your beverage.
The best news is this will be accommodated by one refrigerator. And you can sleep in the same bed with your spouse. No tent. No squirrels. No snow. Who says you can’t save a marriage.
Yield: 1 glass
- Juice of two limes [about 2 ounces]
- 4 ounces of simple sugar syrup.
- Ice cubes and shaved, crushed ice
- Club soda [optional]
Put the lime juice and syrup in a cocktail shaker. File with ice cubes, shake until very cold.
Fill a cocktail glass with crushed ice and pour in the shaken limeade. Top with club soda if you desire.
Source: Brian O’Rourke