Regardless of whether or not you’re in a mild (or severe) panic about the impending last day of school or have been barely keeping your head above water during the “May-nia” (as a friend called the end-of-May craziness, which is otherwise known as “May-hem”…) of the last few weeks, I hope you can relax a bit over the long holiday weekend.
I repeat: Long. Holiday. Weekend.
So, seeing as how you’re probably going camping, or to the pool, or at the very least grilling out and not turning on your stove, I’ll save my spring veggie pasta recipe for another time in favor of something infinitely more useful on Memorial Day: Mint Lemonade.
Making homemade lemonade is one of my favorite summertime activities — along with drinking it of course. The addition of fresh mint makes this version a bit more sophisticated. Add some vodka and a splash of soda, and you’ll impress your pool-side friends with what could be the world’s most refreshing cocktail.
My kids like to help squeeze the lemons. Okay, that’s not exactly true. It’s kind of hard work, but my kids will do it since they love lemonade, too (just make sure you keep track of which batch has the vodka in it because it’s not easy to tell the difference…). Sometimes we freeze it and make lemonade pops. But this is not what you’ll get if you hit up one of my enterprising kids’ all-too-frequent lemonade stands. That, my friends, is Minute Maid.
Fresh Mint Lemonade (makes about 2 quarts)
10 lemons, cut in half
1 cup sugar (mine’s a bit brownish because I used unbleached cane sugar)
20-30 mint leaves (it’s okay if they have the stems on them, but make sure they’re washed)
8-10 cups water
In a small saucepan combine sugar, mint leaves, and 1 cup water. Stir, cooking on a medium-low heat, until the sugar is dissolved. Continue to cook until the consistency has thickened into a syrup and it smells strongly of mint (about 20 min) but don’t let it burn. Squeeze the lemons into a pitcher (If you don’t already have one, get yourself a lemon squeezer; I’m not sure I could survive the summer without one!). You should have about 1 cup of lemon juice. Using a strainer to catch the mint leaves, pour the mint syrup into the pitcher and stir to combine with the lemon juice. Taste. If it’s too sour, add 1 tbs. more sugar and stir to dissolve; if it’s too sweet, squeeze another lemon in there. Once the flavor seems right, add the water, 1-2 cups at a time, until it’s diluted to your liking. You can also use sparkling water if you’re serving it right away. Garnish with a few lemon slices and fresh mint leaves.
Have a terrific and relaxing holiday weekend!