This has been one of the longest and hottest summers I can remember. Not just the temperatures, but everything that's going on in politics and the world economy makes you want to pack it all up and head for them hills. Unfortunately, most of us are so broke that's not an alternative. (Notice I said broke and not poor. As a friend of mine used to say, "broke is temporary, poor is a state of mind")
These days, after the market closes at 4 p.m I find myself reaching for a glass of iced tea or lemonade. It's so hot at that time here in Georgia that the idea of liquor is the last thing on my mind. Now I understand why Southeners are so fond of their iced tea and lemonade. Afternoon temperatures have been in the mid to upper 90's since the beginning of May and just walking up to the mailbox is a chore. The dogs, who are so fond of lying on the deck and watching for cats and squirrels, don't even want to go out. All they want to do is head for the lake and dunk and that means I have to chase them in this heat and towel them off before they get their muddy paws all over the house.
Cooking is the last thing on my mind these days and that says a lot about this heat. We have been doing lots of grilling and enjoying light meals. I will be back in full force when temperatures cool off but in the meantime I wanted to share some cool drinks that I have saved from this month's Southern Living and from Martha Stewart's website. Enjoy!
Check out my favorite lemonade recipe in the lake blog.
Tell me, what do you drink when it's this hot?!
Governor's Mansion Summer Tea Punch
Makes One Gallon
3 family-size tea bags
2 cups loosely packed fresh mint leaves
1 (33.8-oz.) bottle peach nectar
1/2 (12-oz.) can frozen lemonade concentrate, thawed
1/2 cup Simple Sugar Syrup
1 (1-liter) bottle ginger ale, chilled
1 (1-liter) bottle club soda, chilled
Garnish: fresh peach wedges
1. Bring 4 cups water to a boil in a medium saucepan; add tea bags and mint leaves. Boil 1 minute; remove from heat. Cover and steep 10 minutes.
2. Discard tea bags and mint. Pour into a 1-gal. container; add peach nectar, lemonade concentrate, and Simple Sugar Syrup. Cover and chill 8 to 24 hours.
3. Pour chilled tea mixture into a punch bowl or pitcher. Stir in ginger ale and club soda just before serving. Garnish, if desired.
Junior League Of Austin
via Southern Living
Lavender Infused Lemonade
3 cups granulated sugar
3 cups water
1/4 cup dried lavender
4 cups fresh lemon juice (from 16 to 20 lemons)
Ice, for serving
Lemon slices and fresh lavender sprigs, for garnish
Bring sugar and water to a boil in a saucepan, stirring until sugar has dissolved. Stir in lavender. Remove from heat, and let stand for 10 minutes.
Strain, discarding lavender. Let cool.
Stir in lemon juice. (Lemonade can be refrigerated in an airtight container for up to 1 week.) Serve over ice, and garnish with lemon slices and fresh lavender sprigs.
Mint Julep Sweet Tea
Makes 4 cups
1/2 cup loosely packed fresh mint leaves
1 lemon, sliced
2 tablespoons sugar
3 cups cold sweetened tea
1 cup bourbon
Garnish: fresh mint sprigs
Combine first 3 ingredients in a 2-qt. pitcher. Press mint leaves against sides of pitcher with back of spoon to release flavors. Stir in tea and bourbon. Serve over crushed ice. Garnish, if desired.
Lemon Mint Lemonade
Serves 4 to 6
1/4 cup sugar for simple syrup
1 2/3 cups freshly squeezed lemon juice
2 tablespoons julienned mint, plus leaves for garnish
1 lemon, sliced 1/4-inch thick, plus more for garnish
1.In a small saucepan, combine sugar and 1/4 cup water. Bring mixture to a boil, stirring until the sugar has dissolved. Remove from heat. Let stand until completely cool.
2.In a large pitcher half-filled with ice, add 2 cups water, lemon juice, simple syrup, mint, and lemon slices. Stir to combine. Serve over ice. Garnish with mint leaves and lemon slices.
Blueberry Lemon Iced Tea
Makes 5 cups
1 (12-oz.) package frozen blueberries
1/2 cup fresh lemon juice
3 family-size tea bags
3/4 cup sugar
Garnishes: fresh blueberries, lemon rind strips
1. Bring blueberries and lemon juice to a boil in a large saucepan over medium heat; cook, stirring occasionally, 5 minutes. Remove from heat; pour through a wire-mesh strainer into a bowl, using back of a spoon to squeeze out juice. Discard solids. Rinse saucepan clean.
2. Bring 4 cups water to a boil in same saucepan; add 3 tea bags; let stand 5 minutes. Discard tea bags. Stir in sugar and blueberry juice mixture. Pour into a pitcher; cover and chill 1 hour. Serve over ice. Garnish, if desired.