Cool drinks cool down a hot July Fourth

MCCLATCHY NEWS SERVICEJune 26, 2013 

A cold drink on a hot day is one of summer's pleasures. Multiply your refreshment with some new drink ideas.

SOUR CHERRY SYRUP

Makes 2 cups

2 quarts fresh sour cherries, pitted

2 cups sugar

Juice of 1/2 lemon

In a medium saucepan set over medium heat, combine the cherries, sugar and lemon juice and bring to a boil. Simmer for 30 minutes. Strain the syrup through a fine-mesh strainer and discard the fruit solids. Store the syrup in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to seven days. Pour over ice cream or stir into milk.

Cherry soda: Fill tall glass with ice. Add 3 tablespoons syrup and add a few dashes citric acid solution or acid phosphate. Top with seltzer and mix gently.

Cherry cream soda: Fill a tall glass with ice. Add in 3 tablespoons of syrup, pour in seltzer until the glass is almost full. Stir. Top with 3 tablespoons milk and serve.

Cherry lassi: Add 3 tablespoons yogurt to a pint glass. Stir until smooth. Add 3 tablespoons cherry syrup and stir until syrup and yogurt are incorporated. Fill three-quarters full with water, stir and top with ice.

Bourbon and cherry chocolate: Add 1 3/4 ounces Maker's Mark bourbon, 1 tablespoon cherry syrup and dash of chocolate bitters to a cocktail shaker half-filled with ice. Shake and strain over fresh ice cubes or into a rocks glass, or serve neat in a martini glass.

Cherry ice cream soda: Fill a tall glass with ice. Add 3 tablespoons syrup. Add enough seltzer until the glass is two-thirds full, stirring briskly. Add 1 scoop vanilla ice cream, then top with more seltzer, taking care that it doesn't run over.

The syrup recipe and most of the serving suggestions are from "Make Your Own Soda: Syrup Recipes for All-Natural Pops, Floats, Cocktails and More," by Anton Nocito (Clarkson Potter, $14.99).

TRADITIONAL CHOCOLATE EGG CREAM

Serves 1

3/8 cup (3 ounces) whole milk

About 3/4 cup (6 ounces) very cold seltzer

3 tablespoons (1 1/2 ounces) chocolate syrup

Straight pretzel rod for garnish

Pour the milk into a 12-ounce glass and add the seltzer. Using a long spoon, stir vigorously for a few seconds. Gently pour the chocolate syrup into the glass, then stir again, taking care to stir mostly at the bottom of the glass to incorporate. Garnish with a straight pretzel rod.

This recipe is from "New York Sweets: A Sugarhound's Guide to the Best Bakeries, Ice Cream Parlors, Candy Shops, and Other Emporia of Delicious Delights," by Susan Pear Meisel (Rizzoli International, $29.95).

INFUSED AND FLAVORED WATERS

Cucumber water: 1 cucumber, peeled and seeded; juice of 1 lime; 5 cups water; sugar, to taste; 1 lime, sliced, for garnish.

In the jar of a blender, blend the cucumber and lime juice and then strain through a fine-mesh sieve for an hour. Add the juice to the water, along with a little sugar to taste. Serve garnished with a lime slice.

Rosemary lemon iced tea: 1 bunch rosemary, well washed; zest of 2 lemons; juice of 2 lemons; 1 cup sugar; 5 cups water.

Put the rosemary, lemon zest, lemon juice and sugar in a heatproof container. In a small saucepan, bring the water to a boil and then pour it over the rosemary. Stir and let infuse for two hours. Strain and serve cold.

Tamarind tea: 5 cups water; 1 cup tamarind paste; 1 cup sugar.

In a small saucepan, bring the water to a simmer over medium heat. Add the tamarind and sugar and stir for about five minutes, then let soak for two hours. Strain through a fine-mesh sieve and serve cold.

Lemon and mint infusion: 2 slices lemon and 2 sprigs fresh mint.

Place the lemon and mint into a heatproof glass and cover with boiling water. Allow to steep for two minutes before drinking.

Recipes are from "Mediterranean Cooking," by The Culinary Institute of America and by Lynne Gigliotti (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, $34.99) and Share: The Cookbook That Celebrates Our Common Humanity" (Kyle Books, $35).

SUMMER COCKTAILS

All recipes serve 1.

Pisco sour: 2 1/2 ounces pisco, 1 1/2 ounces lime juice, 1 1/2 ounces simple syrup, 1 1/2 tablespoons egg white, 1/2 cup ice.

Combine all ingredients in a blender and blend until very smooth and frothy. Pour into a large, heavy glass and serve immediately.

Gin and bitter lemon: 1 to 2 slices lemon, 1 teaspoon sugar, 1 1/2 ounces gin, ice, bitter lemon tonic, fresh mint, to garnish.

In a medium, heavy glass, combine the lemon slices and sugar. Gently muddle, then add the gin and enough ice to mostly fill the glass. Top with bitter lemon tonic, then stir and garnish with fresh mint.

Trashy red wine sangria: 1 to 2 slices orange, 2 tablespoons lime juice, 1 to 2 tablespoons sugar, 4 ounces red wine, ice, seltzer water (optional). If you feel so inclined, go ahead and float some raspberries or sliced strawberries in this, too.

In a large, heavy glass, combine the orange slices, lime juice and sugar. Gently muddle, then add the wine and enough ice to mostly fill the glass. Stir. If desired, top with a splash of seltzer for bubbles.

Vodka watermelon slushie: 1 1/2 cups watermelon chunks, 1/2 cup ice, 1 1/2 ounces vodka, 1 ounce lemon juice, 1 ounce honey or simple syrup, pinch salt.

Combine all ingredients in a blender and blend until very smooth and frothy. Pour into a large, heavy glass and serve immediately.

Recipes by J.M. Hirsch. Hirsch is the food editor for The Associated Press. He blogs at www.LunchBoxBlues.com.

Ruby red mojito: Mint, 2 wedges lime, 2 to 3 teaspoons agave syrup, or to taste, ice, 1/4 cup white rum, preferably Crusoe organic. 1/4 cup freshly squeezed Ruby Red grapefruit juice, club soda, additional fresh mint and lime wedge for garnish

Place mint, lime and agave syrup (about 2 to 3 teaspoons, or to taste) in a sturdy glass. Use a muddler to crush the mint and lime to release the juice. Place ice in a beverage shaker and add mint mixture, rum and grapefruit juice. Shake well and serve over ice in a highball glass. Top off with club soda. Garnish with a lime wedge and sprig of mint.

Recipe from Akasha Restaurant in Culver City, Calif.; adapted for publication by Los Angeles Times.

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