Monday, August 16, 2010
fruity drinks, sunset beach optional
For the last few years, we have taken advantage of the post-Christmas lull in bakery sales to take a vacation. (January seems to be a month to cut down on carbohydrates—even healthy whole-grain sourdough ones—in favor of salads and other New Year’s Resolution-type fare.) We have gone to Costa Rica now for two years running, and have really enjoyed the sun and warmth, beautiful beaches, fresh fruits and vegetables, and friendly people. When we are there, we rent a house near the ocean, and five o’clock every day finds us wandering down the path to the beach, fruity drinks in hand. We sit on driftwood logs, enjoying the relative coolness of the evening, sometimes chatting with fellow sunset-watchers, other times just enjoying the sounds of the surf while we attend the deliberate plunge of the sun into the ocean. If there are other children present, we also watch Meredith rolling around in the surf, filling the air with laughter and her swimsuit with sand.
This year, as our departure date loomed, and we prepared to head back to wintry Anchorage, Dan and I discussed ways to bring some of our relaxed Costa Rican lifestyle home to Alaska. One tradition we vowed to continue was our sunset drinks on the beach… even though in Anchorage we would face challenges.
1. There is no beach in easy reach. Mudflats, yes… beach, no.
2. We lack a dependable sunset at a useful, pre-dinner hour. In the winter, we’d be sucking down mojitos at 3:30 in the afternoon, and as for summer? We’d have to eat our dinner after midnight if we waited for sunset to enjoy our planter’s punch.
No matter. Fruity drinks at five o’clock, no beach or sunset required. Since we have returned from Costa Rica, I have put every conceivable local and non-local fruit available into service in my explorations of fruity and alcoholic concoctions. Frozen blueberries picked in Kachemak Bay last year, strawberries from the farmers market, pear juice from the health food section of Fred Meyer, and watermelons hauled home from Costco have all been used with great success.
This recipe is one of my favorites, and I’ve just gotten to the end of the frozen raspberries we picked from our neighbors’ bushes last summer. If you don’t have local raspberries, frozen ones from the supermarket work just fine!
I think this might be my favorite drink at the moment. It’s like having dessert first!
for each drink:
½ cup raspberries, fresh or frozen
1 ounce freshly squeezed lime juice
2 ounces vodka
a dash of creme de framboise or Chambord or other raspberry liqueur
sugar syrup (see recipe below) to taste
Perrier or soda water to top up
1. Put the raspberries in the bottom of a tall glass. If they are frozen, let them thaw. Moosh the berries up with a fork until they are reduced to a rough and seedy paste.
2. Add the lime juice, vodka, raspberry liqueur and a splash of sugar syrup and stir well.
3. Add ice cubes to fill the glass, and then top up with bubbly water. Stir well and taste it, and add more syrup to taste.
4. Serve with a straw. This drink works best with a straw, because you can suck up all the yummy raspberry morsels through the straw. If you don’t have a straw, all the raspberry bits get stuck at the bottom below the ice cubes.
1 cup water
2 cups sugar
1. Combine water and sugar in a small saucepan. Heat over medium heat, stirring occasionally, under the sugar is completely dissolved.
2. Cool the syrup and pour into a glass jar and keep it refrigerated.