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The Life Edit: Cocktails and mocktails for summer
Who’s ready for a break? Cheers to the holiday-ish weekend. Are you embarking on a four-day weekend or is your Tuesday 4th an island? Alas, mine is set to be an island, but I never look a day off in the mouth.
Speaking of summer holidays and…er…mouths, I wanted share a few of our favorite summer sips for 2023 so far. During the summer, we tend to find a cocktail early on in the season, and it becomes our cocktail of the summer. Last year, the frozen lemonade/champagne/Chambord concoction. This year, something much lighter and quicker to whip up.
Back in the spring, I saw a cocktail idea on the Pantry Hill Instagram and gave it a spin despite some skepticism. It’s based on flavored seltzer water, and we haven’t had much luck with that. Do you know the recipe for envelope glue? Add gin to Cran-Raspberry La Croix and stir.
The post was a list of ingredient suggestions, not a recipe, and was in their Stories, so there’s nothing to link to, unfortunately. I’ll write down how we’ve adapted it, but full credit to that account for the idea.
The original adaptation:
5-6 frozen blueberries
1.5 oz. gin
1 spring catmint or spearmint
Add blueberries and ice to a double old-fashioned glass. Add gin and stir. Top with seltzer and garnish with mint.
*The Kroger brand of seltzer waters seems to be the key to making drinkable cocktails with flavored seltzer. I think the slight sodium content in the Kroger water adds the depth of flavor the envelope glue fails were lacking. If they don’t have Kroger in your area, anything but La Croix would probably work well.
There are several flavors of the seltzer to be had. Now our task is to determine which liquors pair best with which seltzers.
A promising new adaptation:
1.5 oz. Bacardi
Mix as above, garnish with lime wedge.
Pivoting from flavored seltzer, we’ve also slightly reinvented the Pimm’s Cup. I started eating clean back in April and have resisted talking about it online for fear of becoming that annoying wellness person. (Do we want to hear about clean Mediterranean diet eating in a future post? I feel amazing, honestly. My health is better than it’s ever been. Just say the word. I’ll write it all down.)
In keeping with this clean-eating philosophy, we haven’t wanted to bring soda into the house. I don’t want to drink it. The child will whine for it. So, the adults have come up with what we’re calling home-brewed 7-Up. The home-brewed version actually makes for a much more refreshing cocktail, perfect for a hot summer’s day.
The home-brewed 7-Up version of the Pimm’s Cup is really easy to make:
1.5 tsp simple syrup
Squeeze of lemon juice
Squeeze of lime juice
1.5 oz. Pimm’s No. 1
Plain sparkling water (we used our SodaStream)
Spring of mint
Mix first four ingredients in a double old-fashioned glass, stir and add ice. Fill with sparkling water. Add last three ingredients to garnish.
Don’t skip the garnish. I admit, until this summer, I had always skipped the garnish in a Pimm’s Cup. Don’t be a me. That garnish is amazing.
The home-brewed Pimm’s Cup is a lot lighter than the lemon-lime soda version and a lot less cloying. You might need to play around with the proportions of simple syrup, lime and lemon until it’s to your liking.
Along with the clean eating and since the subject heading does include ‘mocktails,’ the seltzer cocktails are also excellent without alcohol. The seltzer cocktail pictured above is actually a mocktail version of the blackberry-citrus recipe. Not pictured: gin. (Pictured below, no trickery, the home-brewed Pimm’s Cup complete with Pimm’s.) Perhaps I’ve written a cocktail post, but I don’t drink very often these days. The gin-free seltzer mocktails are a nice change of pace from plain water and are a quick way to make a can of sparkling water a bit more elegant.