I don’t usually like sweet drinks, and if I do, they have to involve some sort of citrus. In Oklahoma, it doesn’t take long for our summer temperatures to reach 100º.
Our summers just beg for a cool, citrusy drink to refresh ones dry palette, and this drink, with its hint of mint does just the trick.
To begin, take 2 1/2 cups of water and put it into a medium saucepan. Add 2 cups of white sugar. Bring to a boil, then take off heat. Stir fora mintue. The sugar should dissolve quickly into the water. This is called a simple syrup. You can add many things to a simple syrup to make refreshing drinks. This is your base.
Take 2cups of fresh mint.
If you plant this stuff in your yard or garden, let me offer you a few pointers.
#1 In a few short years, it will take over everything nearby. I mean it! Wherever there is dirt, there will be mint.
#2 Knock or cut out the bottom of a large flower pot. Sink the pot down into the ground so the lip is level with the ground. Plant your mint inside the pot. The plant now has boundaries so it can’t spread. You’ll get plenty of this fresh stuff without feeling taken over.
Take your mint and put it into a bowl.
Take a fork, or some sort of “smashing” tool and begin to smash your mint into the bowl. This is called muddling. There are professional muddlers you can buy that look like a short wooden baseball bat, but it’s not essential to have one. As you can see, I don’t.
Kitchen gadget alert! My mom got me this Pampered Chef tool to break up ground meat while it’s cooking, and it’s a marvelous muddler!
Who thinks of these words? Muddling? Doesn’t sound like a cooking word.
Sounds like something little boys do to get dirty outside.
Anyway, now you need to juice 7 lemons and 3 oranges into a bowl. You can juice them right on top of your mint if you don’t want to wash another bowl. I used a separate one. Mr. Wonderful loves to wash dishes.
Pour your juice and your muddled mint into your simple syrup in your saucepan and give it all a quick stir. Let it sit for several hours. At least 4-6 hours, as you really want the mint to infuse the syrup.
Strain through a fine sieve, or if you don’t have one, remove your coffee basket, and line it with a coffee filter and pour through there. Did you know coffee baskets make wonderful sieves in a pinch?
Now put your citrusy syrup into containers. You can put some in the freezer for later. When you want a refreshing cool drink, fill your glass 1/2 full of the citrus syrup, and pour either club soda, or ginger ale over top.
Your taste buds will be hit with the twangy citrus of the orange and lemon, followed the cool refreshment of the mint.
As for the frozen syrup? It makes for a great lemony-orange slush which is so cooling on a hot summer day.
Cooking with Love,