With the summer solstice falling on Sunday Funday (June 21 y'all), we’re offering a few recipes that are perfect for summer sipping: lemonade. Infused with summer fruits, these lemonade (and limeade) recipes are the perfect accompaniment for the weekend barbecue. Enjoy!
This recipe takes a little foresight, with a two- to five-day wait time on the vodka infusion, but it is well worth it. Also, this recipe makes a thicker drink, with pureed strawberries as a base, so straws may pose a problem; nonetheless, the cocktail is quite tasty.
Strawberry Lemonade Spikde with Kiwi-infused Vodka
- Zest of 1 lemon
- 1 cup sugar
- 4 1/2 cups water, separated
- 1 cup water
- 1 pint of strawberries
- 1 cup fresh lemon juice
- 1 cup kiwi-infused vodka (recipe below)
To create simple syrup, combine lemon zest, sugar and one cup of water in a saucepan over medium heat; stir until sugar dissolves. Remove from heat, strain zest and let cool.
In a blender, puree strawberries and a half-cup of water.
In a large pitcher, combine strawberry puree, simple syrup, lemon juice and vodka. Stir to combine thoroughly. Add three cups water and taste; add more water if preferred. Serve over ice in a Collins glass, and garnish with strawberries.
Though the cocktail recipe calls for just one cup of vodka, this infusion recipe will yield a liter of vodka, allowing for future cocktails.
- 1 liter Tito’s Vodka
- 4 ripe kiwi fruit
Peel kiwi. Slice finely, allowing for more surface area, which speeds up infusion. Put sliced kiwi in a Mason jar, add liter of vodka, seal and shake. Place in a cool dark place, a cupboard or kitchen cabinet works fine, and shake daily—if you remember. After two to five days (longer for a stronger kiwi flavor), strain vodka into a clean jar. For an added bonus, eat the fruit, though in moderation—this stuff can be potent.
Peaches have never been the same since The Presidents of the United States of America dropped the single "Peaches" in 1996. The song gets stuck in my head every time I go to the produce section of Publix in the summer. So what do you do when you have "millions of peaches?" Make Spiked Peach Lemonade!
Spiked Peach Lemonade
- 3 peaches, peeled and roughly chopped
- 1 cup sugar
- 4 cups water
- 1 cup freshly squeezed Meyer lemon juice (about 4 to 5 large lemons)
- 1 cup vodka
Blanch peaches to remove skin; roughly chop and pit. Bring water, chopped peaches and sugar to low boil, reduce to simmer until sugar dissolves, stirring intermittently. Once sugar has dissolved, transfer to a blender (unless you have an immersion blender) and blend until smooth. Strain liquid to remove any solids, pressing to extract as much juice as possible. Let cool before stirring in lemon juice and vodka. Serve over ice and garnish with a sugar dipped lemon wedge or a slice of peach.
Nothing says summer quite like a glass of cherry limeade. The perfect party cocktail, a batch* of Spiked Cherry Limeade will show why Sunday truly is a fun day. There are a few steps for this cocktail and it may seem daunting, but fear not, it is rather simple and the fruits of your labor will be paid off handsomely.
* This recipe makes enough base for 2 gallons of cherry limeade. Halve the base and save (freeze) for later use.
Spiked Cherry Limeade
Yields 1 large pitcher
- Cherry limeade base, halved (recipe below)
- 1 cup vodka
- 5 cups seltzer water (or cold flat water, but I like it fizzy)
Combine in a pitcher. Serve over ice with a cherry and lime wheel garnish.
Cherry Limeade Base
- 1 1/2 cups fresh lime juice (about 12 limes), strained
- Cherry puree (recipe below)
- Simple syrup (recipe below)
Combine cherry puree, lime juice and simple syrup; stir until thoroughly combined. Halve the mix, using one now, saving the other half for a later batch.
Lime Infused Simple Syrup
- 2 cups water
- 2 cups sugar
- Zest of 4 limes
Stir sugar and water together in a medium saucepan, and bring to low boil. Add zest and let simmer for a minute or two, letting thicken. Remove, and let cool and steep.
- 3 cups of whole pitted cherries (see helpful hint below)**
Puree until smooth; strain. Makes a about 1 cup of juice.
** Helpful Hint:
Forget the silly kitchen gadgets, here's a simple and easy way to pit a cherry with a common household/office supply. Take an ordinary paper clip and unfold it to make an elongated ‘S.’ Holding the narrower end of the paper clip, insert the wider potion into the cherry at the stem end, twist, and pull out the pit. This can be incredibly messy, so refrain from wearing your favorite white shirt and maybe don some gloves if you don’t want those French tips sullied.
Tools of the Trade
Become a master mixologist, or at least look like one, with the tools that make the trade.
- Muddler: This little tenderizing stick is a godsend and a must for any home bar. If fruity cocktails are in your future, the muddler is the only way to unlock fruits’ flavor.
- Handheld Citrus Juicer: Nothing beats freshly squeezed juice, but it can be a pain. Invest in a handheld citrus juicer; they are cheap and do the trick tout de suite.
- Cocktail Shaker: Don’t be a chump stirring your martini like a noob; purchase a nice shaker and become a master home barkeep.
- Jigger: This little apparati will make mixing the perfect drink as easy as pie. It's equipped with 1½ oz. and ¾ oz. cups for perfectly measured pours every time.
*Pictured available at Williams-Sonoma