Tuesday, July 6, 2010

porch swing

porch swings

I know, I know, “Deb, what’s up with putting up a summery cocktail recipe a day after a blissfully long holiday weekend?” Ah, but I think you’re coming at this all wrong; this drink is, in actuality, three days early for next weekend.

bag of lemons
to be squeezed

Or, perhaps, 365 days late for the last time I waxed clumsily poetic about this drink, denied access to it for the duration of a summer pregnancy. It’s nothing short of summer in a glass. It tastes like lemonade. It tastes like iced tea. There are crisp cucumber slices and a splash of 7-Up (for some low-brow fizz, you know?) in a tall glass with ice cubes and if that has not convinced you — and seriously, how did that not convince you? — hopefully its name will.

squeezed and squeezed

paper-thin cucumber slices

It’s call a Porch Swing and they make it at a the St. Louis/Kansas City/Memphis/North Carolina/Texas-styled barbecue restaurant called Blue Smoke. Back in the days when I used to work nearby and was not up at the crack of dawn and nodding off by 9:30 p.m. daily, sometimes we’d drop by on a weekday night just because we could and I’d order the iceberg wedge and a pulled pork sandwich and one of these. We’d sit back and imagine wrap-around porches with creaky old swings and overgrown lawns and hot weather that was somehow more bearable because it was chased by a breeze. I sort of can’t get over how lazy our lives were back then and I won’t lie, I miss it terribly some days. Just maybe not yesterday, a day which began with me cracking up over my husband completing his third Rescue Mission of the day as this tiny human that has been assigned to us had slid himself under a piece of furniture and gotten his 95th percentile head stuck again and ended with a heat wave-canceling Porch Swing reunion. It had been way too long.

porch swings
porch swinging

One year ago: Fittingly, Watermelon Lemonade
Two years ago: Chocolate Butter Cake + Vanilla Buttermilk Cake
Three years ago: A Q&A! (It has been 100 years since I did one of these. Should I do another? Why does the thought of one scare me?) and Israeli Salad + Pita Chips

Porch Swing
A Blue Smoke cocktail; recipe from Gael Greene’s site

It had been so long since I’d had one, I’d forgotten that I find them a little, tiny bit sweet. You may not; my husband didn’t, I just don’t like very sweet drinks. The next time I make this, I’ll make a more tart lemonade and have made the suggestion of how you can, below; I am sure that will do the trick.

I cannot remember if the original has ice cubes in it but I think it makes the drink more refreshing so I’ve added them in.

Note: This is very close to a traditional “Pimm’s Cup” recipe with one major change, the addition of gin. Pimm’s No. 1 is made in part with gin, so it is not usually added but oh, I like it this way..

1 1/2 ounces (3 tablespoons) gin (Hendricks is specified; Tanqueray was used)
1 1/2 ounces (3 tablespoons) Pimm’s No. 1 liqueur (what’s Pimm’s?)
4 ounces (1/2 cup) homemade lemonade (recipe below)
7-Up or another lemon/lime soda
10 paper-thin half moon slices of cucumber (I used an “English”, unwaxed, cucumber)

Pour gin, Pimm’s and lemonade into tall Collins glass, then add a few ice cubes and a splash of 7-Up. Finish with cucumber slices.

Lemonade

1 part freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 part simple syrup, or to taste (I will use perhaps 1/2 or 3/4 of a part next time, see Note above)
2 parts water

Make simple syrup: [Please don't buy it. I see it in stores and it vexes me.] Simmer one part water with one part sugar (I did a cup of each and ended up with about 1 1/2 cups simple syrup) until sugar has dissolved. Let cool. Or, you can use my speedier method where you simmer one part sugar with half as much water and once it has dissolved, add the second half of the water, cold, which cools the mixture down faster (when you like nothing to slow your pace to the nearest drink).


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