Summer is the perfect time for drinks.
It’s warm. It’s sunny. If you’re lucky you’re in a tropical locale or close to a beach,
It’s only natural that there’d be a glass of something cold in your immediate environs.
And there is all matter of beverages to wet one’s palate. Heck, on the right Summer day a cold flash of water can be a rhapsodic treat.
Here’s the thing, I know people think of refreshments in the summer months it usually means some type of alcohol, whether a margarita on the beach a beer after cutting the grass.
I, however, don’t drink.
Like even a little bit. Never have. Probably never will.
So my summers look a little different.
Which brings me to the subject of this story. I am here to wax poetically about my favorite summertime drink.
It’s a bit unassuming. And some might say boring, but I think that when the mercury rises there’s nothing better than this time-honored citrus swill.
I know what you’re thinking. Seriously? Lemonade? I’m sure the last time you had that was after your fifth grade graduation. It came in a paper cup and was poured from a plastic bottle purchased at the nearest convenience store.
But I’m talking about something different. Something remarkable. Something that when made the right away needs no further adornment, nor does it need any more proselytizing.
If you make the lemonade yourself (or if you’re nice enough and you smile a lot you can get someone to make it for you) then it will change your position on what the best warm-weather drink is.
The best part is that it is devilishly simple.
First, procure some lemons. If you’re lucky, life gave some to you. If not then you will have to go to the grocery store.
Eight to ten lemons should do the trick.
Next, get about a cup of sugar. If you can, get fine, or ultra-fine sugar that will mix into the lemonade better. If you’re a bit extra you can make a simple syrup which is equal parts water and sugar that is boiled until the sugar dissolves.
Squeeze the lemons extracting their juice. You can use a purpose-built machine or your hands. Whatever is most expedient. Pour the juice into a mid-sized pitcher.
Next, add the sugar or simple syrup and stir.
Finally, add water until you get your desired level of sourness. I tend to like it on the piquant side so I use less water than most people.
Give is a final healthy stir and you're all done.
Chuck the whole thing into the refrigerator and let it get really cold.
Now, this is important. There is a correct way to drink this. First, get a glass. Not a plastic cup, nor some hipster-ish metal glass. And get the thing cold. Either set it in the fridge for a bit or run it under cool water for a minute.
Then, procure your fresh lemonade from the refrigerator and pour it.
The final step is to taste.
It should be amazing. It will be sour, yet sweet, refreshing, but not overwhelming. There should be the slightest hint of lemon pulp floating in the glass to let your friends not this isn’t your standard Minute Maid.
There are exactly three times when this is best drunk.
First is right after mowing the lawn. If you’ve just completed the last strip of your weekly lawn care routine there is nothing better than sitting down and admiring your handiwork while a cold glass of lemonade finds its way into your hand. The glass is cold. The water collects and gently runs down its cold surface. You drink it and everything the cold tangy beverage hits every spot.
Next, make your way to the beach, or the lake, or pond, or river, or even a large puddle. Just be near water. Find a nice chair. Face said water. Grab a nice book and gently sip on your homemade lemon drink and let the afternoon just pass by.
Finally, this one is specific.
Make your way out to the woods. If you have a cabin, great, If not, make friends with someone who does. Get to a place far away from city lights so when you go outside you are under so many stars in the night sky it defies reality. It will look amazing. Especially if it’s a moonless night. Bonus points if you can time this during a meteor shower. Get your extra-large glass of lemonade and quietly drink it in the warm embrace of a summer night while you contemplate your place in the universe.
That is the perfect summer drink.
Homemade lemonade, it just hits different.
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