Thursday, August 26, 2010
the conspicuous cart
I admit to feeling a bit self-conscious when I’m trundling through Costco with one of those colossally tall bottles of Kirkland-brand vodka in my cart. I think the bottle is taller than Meredith. Whenever I’m in Costco, I’m always likely to meet several people I know, or who know me from the farmers market… and when I inevitably do, I always imagine they are thinking “Ye gods! Does she actually DRINK all that vodka? What a lush!”
It could be worse… I’m not buying cartloads of pizza pockets, battered onion rings, microwaveable burgers, or buckets of Miracle Whip. And I’m buying that vodka to make fruity five-o-clock drinks—not to guzzle straight out of that monstrous bottle. Usually my cart is also loaded with the other necessary ingredients: limes, lemons, watermelons or peaches, strawberries or oranges, grapefruits or plums
Really, when you think of it, vodka could be construed as a HEALTH food. A drink every day is supposed to be good for your heart, right? I don’t really like the taste of alcohol, so a fruity mixed drink is just the ticket to keep me healthy. And just think of all those vitamins in the fruit! Not gonna catch ME with scurvy!
But back to that bottle. Unless you, too, have bought one of those massive jugs of 80-proof, you have no idea how unwieldy that monster is to pour a measure of vodka into a tiny jigger. I wish they would change the shape into something more manageable. Like the Absolut Citron bottle. [Whoops! Did I just admit to buying another Costco-sized bottle of alcohol?] Anyway, if the bottle weren’t so tall, it would have two advantages. One, it would be easier to pour. And two, it might not be QUITE so conspicuous in my cart.
Here’s a drink I love to make with strawberries and the aforementioned lemon-flavored vodka. I don’t have to tell you where I get the Absolut Citron, do I?
This recipe makes enough for two strong drinks. I like to make this in the blender, with frozen strawberries—either local ones from the farmers market that I’ve frozen, or the berries from the big bags from (you guessed it) Costco. But if you have fresh strawberries you want to use, by all means do that!
8 or 9 large strawberries, frozen or fresh (don’t thaw first, if frozen)
3 ounces lemon vodka
2 ounces Cointreau (orange-flavored liqueur)
1 ounce freshly-squeezed lime juice
sweetener to taste (see recipe for sugar syrup, below)
1. Put all the ingredients except for the sweetener in the blender, and buzz until nicely pureed and smooth.
2. Taste and add sweetener if needed. I like to add a little if my strawberries are tart, but the Cointreau is sweet, as well, so taste it first.
3. If you’re using frozen strawberries you can just pour this into a small glass if you want, without ice, but I like to put lots of ice in a tall glass and then pour the drink over the top. It stays cold longer. If it’s really thick and icy when you first make it, pour it into the glass first and then push the ice cubes on top and into it. Drink with a straw, if you have it!!
1 cup water
1 ½ 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.