Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Ginger Lemonade w/ Mint Simple Syrup // The Start of Things...

Although it is hard for me to believe, it is finally June. Where I sit, it is a perfect seventy-five degrees with nearly no humidity, the cicadas (which finally arrived last week) are humming in the woods that surround our home, and I am fortunate enough to stare out at a cloudless blue sky. Summer is here, and life is good. 

This same time last year, the chef and I were a bit of a mess -- not only had we just wrapped up work at our first major NYC food market, but we were days away from our wedding, a few weeks away from my first book's publication date, and we were generally feeling lost about the next step we should take to help grow our business. 

It feels safe to say that it has been a bit of a hectic year.

And yet, life went on, as it always does, and somehow (how, exactly, I am still trying to figure out) things just kind of worked themselves out. Next week marks our one year wedding anniversary (and we still like each other...success!), my book continues to sell (thank you, thank you, thank you), last week we wrapped up our third go at the above mentioned market, and in just a few weeks we will begin the transition from owning a pop-up artisan sandwich shop to operating a full fledged brick and mortar in one of our favorite NYC neighborhoods, where we can serve the food we love three hundred and sixty five days a year. Sure, there is still stress; however, for the most part, it is one of those fortunate times when life feels happy, relatively simple, and more or less like things are really starting to move according to plan. 

When I began to think about today's post -- my first proper post for this new little project of mine -- I knew I wanted to focus on a recipe that would capture this happy, simplistic, summertime feeling: what better way then with a cold glass of my favorite lemonade. I like this recipe not only because it is, for me, the perfect combination of both nostalgic and grown-up, but also because it relies on no granulated sugar -- something I've been trying very hard to eliminate from our daily diets -- but instead relies on the natural sweetness of honey. 

I hope this lemonade finds you in your own happy, summery frame of mind. 

Ginger Lemonade w/ Mint Simple Syrup

- 1/2 cup cold water
- 1/2 cup tightly packed mint leaves, plus 4-6 additional leaves
- 1/2 cup honey

- 1/2 lemon, cut into wedges
- 1-inch piece of ginger, cut into very thin slices

Combine the water, 1/2 cup mint and honey in a small saucepan and cook over low heat, stirring constantly until the honey is completely dissolved, about two minutes. Remove saucepan from heat, cover, and allow to steep for 10 minutes.

When mixture has cooled, strain the syrup into a glass jar with a tight-fitting lid. When kept refrigerated, the simple syrup will keep for about one week. 

Muddle the lemon, ginger and remaining mint at the bottom of a 12-16-ounce glass. Fill the glass nearly to the top with ice and add two tablespoons of the mint simple syrup. Top off the glass with cold filtered water or sparkling water and stir. 

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