At the start of every summer, I tend to set lofty goals. One year I woke up every morning at an ungodly hour in pursuit of the best lawn and garden on the block. (My water bill put an end to that.) Another year, I vowed to train every evening for a 10 km race at the end of the season. (The rainiest summer on record put an end to that.)
This year, my goal is a little less ambitious; to make (and enjoy!) the best summer cocktails from the comfort of my deck. I’m quite sure I can knock this one out of the park. My sister-in-law introduced me to this one that she found from Willow Bird Baking via foodgawker.com. It’s everything you could ever want in a summer cocktail—and you can easily gussy it up with some “spirit” for entertaining. (I’m partial to vodka, but I wouldn’t turn my nose up to gin or rum.)
Sparkling Strawberry Lemonade
Adapted from The Sweet Melissa Baking Book by Melissa Murphy
Yields: about 6.5 cups of lemonade
Fresh Strawberry Sauce Ingredients:
1 dry pint fresh strawberries, rinsed and hulled (or maybe a little more)
2 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
2 tablespoons cold water
3/4 cup sugar
1 cup very hot water
1 cup fresh lemon juice
4-1/2 cups cold seltzer or sparkling water
Make strawberry sauce: In a food processor or blender, puree the berries, sugar, lemon juice and water until smooth. Strain the berry mixture into a clean bowl and discard the seeds. Stir in additional sugar, if needed. Cover and refrigerate until used.
Make lemonade: In a pitcher, combine the sugar and hot water and stir until the sugar has dissolved into a syrup. Stir in the lemon juice and cold seltzer water. Add the strawberry sauce and stir to combine. Pour over ice into tall glasses rimmed with sugar (dip rims into lemon juice and then sugar). Garnish with fresh strawberries and mint, if desired. Strawberry lemonade keeps at least 3 days in the refrigerator.
—Christina, CF‘s managing editor
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