A Welcome Cocktail
If you are lucky enough to have visitors come over at some point this summer, you should greet them with a cold beverage.
It’s freakin’ hot out there and anyone who ventures out of a controlled A/C environment deserves a cocktail.
There’s really nothing fancy about this drink, but it’s one of the most refreshing drinks I’ve ever had. Not only will it cool off your guests, but it’s a great way to start off happy hour.
Yield: Serves 4-6.
2 Cups simple syrup (make syrup with 1 part water and one part sugar)
2 Cups lemon juice, freshly squeezed (about 12-14 small lemons)
1 1/2 Cups gin
15 fresh mint leaves
Juicer (if you use a juicer frequently you might want to upgrade a bit from this model)
1) Add sugar and water to a pot over medium heat. Stir until sugar is dissolved. Cool completely.
2) Juice lemons and add syrup to lemon juice.
3) Wash mint and smack them a few times to release oils.
4) Add mint to a large pitcher with gin and lemonade.
5) Add ice and serve!
The Simple Syrup
If you wanted to take a shortcut you could use one of those frozen lemonade mixes for this drink, but I really think it tastes better with freshly squeezed juice. It only takes a few minutes and it’s worth doing it right in my opinion.
As you might guess, two cups of lemon juice has a pretty tart flavor so you’ll need a lot of sugar to counteract it. The best way to get sugar into a beverage is with a simple syrup. The ratio I always use for my syrup is 1 part water to 1 part sugar.
In this case, two cups of each should do the trick. Add these to a pan and set them over medium heat. Stir until the syrup is hot and the sugar is dissolved.
You’ll want to let the syrup cool before using it which is fine because you have some lemons to squeeze anyway!
Lots of lemons!
If you’re a good juicer, you should be able to bust these out in a few minutes. If you make drinks a lot with fresh squeezed juice, it might make sense to get a really nice juicer. They make automatic ones that make juicing really easy. I haven’t quite gotten there yet, so I still do the work by hand.
Finishing the Drink
There’s one trick to this drink that makes it pop: slapping the mint!
Mint leaves have lots of oils in them which give them the wonderful fragrance. The oils won’t really come out though unless you bruise the leaves somehow. You could do this by muddling them, but for this drink, I like the whole leaves in the pitcher.
So I just lay the leaves out on a cutting board and literally smack them!
Giving them a few slaps will bruise them and make them really fragrant.
Then add them to a large pitcher and you’re ready to go!
Add the lemon juice, simple syrup, and gin and stir it all together!
If you’re serving it immediately, add ice to the pitcher as well. If you’re making this in advance, chill it without ice in it so it doesn’t get watered down.
This is one of those drinks that people will be able to smell as soon as they come in. It’s really tasty!
The only thing I’ll mention about this drink is to be careful! There’s a fair amount of booze in it and you can barely taste it. When I was having one of these guys, I felt like I could’ve easily put down the whole pitcher, which would’ve been a bad idea.
If you are having some friends over during these hot days or just want to treat yourself to a nice little happy hour, give this guy a shot!