Once I finished up my Zodiac Cocktail series last week, I began searching for an idea for something new that I could post about each Wednesday. I entertained the thought of books or even movies, and I still may do those in the future, but they just didn’t capture my attention enough at the moment to know for certain that that’s the way I wanted to go. My middle son, Zachary, offered up a suggestion that truly intrigued me: cocktails that go along with summertime things like carnivals, a day at the beach, a weekend at the lake, farmers’ markets, and garden parties. The more I thought about the idea, the more perfect I thought it was. So thank you, Zach! Credit for the idea behind this series goes to you. I’m kicking things off today with a drink that celebrates that childhood entrepreneurial adventure known as the lemonade stand.
Inevitably as the first warm days of summer hit and kids are out of school, the first lemonade stands begin popping up here and there in neighborhoods everywhere. They are mostly just a folding table with a few plastic cups of warm lemonade sitting on them, but somehow I can never resist stopping by to make my contribution. I’ve even been known to drive by one and then be compelled to turn the car around and go back. I don’t know what it is that really draws me to them so much. Is it the lemonade itself? Most definitively no, because it’s usually made from a powdered mix and served straight up without ice in the very bane of my existence, the solo cup. Without a garnish. I think for me, it’s that I look at these little people standing behind their folding tables, waiting for their customers, and I feel as though we’re kindred spirits. We’re both serving drinks, aren’t we, and we’re hoping that we make a dollar or two on them and that they end up being the highlight of someone’s day. These hopeful children may actually be the future bartenders and cocktail mixologists of the world, and as such, I want to support them, and offer some suggestions. Let’s start with real lemons, simple syrup, nicer glassware, and maybe a basil garnish. Or how about just a tablecloth and a really good sign that tells everyone exactly what it is that you’re serving? And ice, ice, and, more ice! Most importantly of all, I want to remind them that even the very best cocktail can fall short if the person handing it to you is not smiling when they do so. I’m actually going to pitch an idea for a new reality show to Spike TV: Lemonade Stand Rescue. What do you think?
So for today’s cocktail, I’ve used Rujero Singani as my base spirit because it’s one of my absolute favorites and its delicate flavor works so well with lemon. I’ve combined it with Fabrizia’s Limoncello, fresh lemon juice, and a basil simple syrup. I’ve chosen to serve it up in a cocktail glass, but you could easily modify it for a tall Collins glass by serving it over ice and adding some club soda. I raise my glass to the young bartenders of America whose hope that they’re serving the perfect lemonade may one day turn into a passion for serving the perfect cocktail. Cheers!
Add all the ingredients to a cocktail shaker with ice and shake for 20 seconds or until very cold. Double strain into a chilled cocktail glass and garnish with a lemon wheel and a basil sprig. Enjoy!
*Dissolve 1 cup of sugar in 1 cup of boiling water until the liquid runs clear. Pour into a Mason jar and add in ¼ cup of basil leaves. Steep until cool. The syrup will keep in the fridge for about 2 weeks or so.