As will happen from time to time (coughdaily), last week I got to longing for what I consider one of the greatest Cocktails Out There That Is Not a Manhattan, one that goes by the name Porch Swing as is served at Blue Smoke, a delicious mutt of a barbecue joint (Memphis babybacks, Kansas City spareribs, North Carolina slaw and Texas brisket, anyone?) on East 27th Street. The Porch Swing is a also a delicious mutt, with Pimm’s and Hendrick’s Gin and Lemonade and 7-Up and thin slices of cucumber (recipe over here) and omg is it October when mama can have a proper, strong drink yet?
But for once, something phenomenal came out of this backyard longing, and that was (when Googling about for the official Porch Swing recipe), the discovery of something a little more gestationally-appropriate, the Watermelon Lemonade from Bubby’s, a pie and chicken noodle soup-style comfort food restaurant in TriBeCa. What brought these two drinks together was some Mix-Off event, where the Porch Swing won first prize in the boozy category and the watermelon lemonade stole my heart in the safe-for-babies zones. It had to be mine. Heck, it was mine long before I had a sip.
I don’t know about you, but it has been a zillion years since I actually ordered a lemonade anywhere, as you never know what a restaurant thinks counts for “fresh lemon juice” these days and even when I’ve found good ones, they’re so sweet, they make the roof of my mouth ache. But this here watermelon lemonade is a dream-come-true, summer in a clinking glass: low on sweet, high on fresh and so soothing, I was convinced for a second there that I was on a porch swing on a late summer afternoon somewhere breezy with my baby (and not, say, this sofa with the background din of a rattly window air conditioning unit). Ah well, at least for a moment there, I almost forgot those other porch swings I’m missing.
Still looking for July 4th inspiration? We’ve got loads of it right here!
Adapted from Bubby’s
Makes enough to fill two glasses with ice cubes; we quadrupled it to fill a pitcher. We already need more.
1/4 cup (2 ounces) fresh-squeezed lemon juice
1/2 cup (4 ounces) fresh watermelon puree, strained through a coarse strainer to remove seeds
3 tablespoons (1 1/2 ounces) simple syrup*
3/4 cup (6 ounces) cold water
Stir it all together and serve over ice. Garnish it with a thin watermelon or lemon wedge, if you’re feeling fancy.
Spritzy variation: I have never met a beverage I didn’t think would taste better bubbly, thus, if you’re looking for a spritzier version of this, swap one-third (1/4 cup) or more of the water with seltzer or sparkling water.
Boozy variation: My husband thinks this would taste even better with a splash of vodka. I am not one to argue.
* Make your own simple syrup: Please. I see it sold in stores and it just boggles my mind. Simmer one part water with one part sugar (I did a cup of each and ended up with more than I needed for a quadruple batch) 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 mocktail).