June means that no speck of winter should remain. The sun should shine, the sweat should glisten, and salads should be served. Not this year, though. We’ve just greeted June in scarves and boots (yes, really).So, as the older boys lamented the impossibility of traipsing about in shorts and flip flops, and the baby protested the endless layers of fleece, I decided something. If warm weather won’t come to us, we’ll just have to go ahead and make some summer ourselves. Since summer means ice in your glass and not under your feet, it only seems fitting to start with drinks.
What’s that saying? If life gives you lemons, make lemonade.And make lemonade, we shall. But not just any lemonade. And not just lemonade. Let’s dress up ice cold lemonade and chilled green tea with blueberry ribbons, shall we?
First things first – we must make some blueberry simple syrup! This drippy sweetness will be used to brighten up lemonade and green tea. Have leftovers? Drizzle it in yogurt or over pancakes or ice cream.Let’s talk lemonade. It’s easy to make from scratch, but I had visions of lemon seeds flying all over the kitchen and juice stinging my eyes. I wanted a shortcut.
Germans only have something called bitter lemon soda, and I highly recommend taking the label at its word. No frozen lemonade concentrate is to be found either. But, knowing their fond affection for beer mixed with “lemonade” (known as a Radler), I persisted and discovered a huge glass bottle of Zitronensaft right next to the apple juice. Score!After our adventures in lemonade, it’s time to conquer green tea. If you don’t like green tea, it’s usually due to one or more of these things: you’re drinking Lipton, you’re making it with boiling water, and you’re steeping it for more than 3 minutes.
Green tea is sensitive. Use quality tea leaves (loose leaf is best), brew it with water heated to 185°F/85°C, and remove the leaves after 3 minutes. For more tips, click here. But, even if I haven’t converted you to the green tea lovers club, don’t worry. Blueberry syrup makes everything better.
To add another dimension to our drinks, let’s add bubbly… water, that is. Replace some of the water in the lemonade with club soda or mineral water. Make a refreshing drink worthy of coffee shop fame by mixing some sparkling water in with your blueberry green tea.
1 cup water
1 cup sugar
1 cup frozen or fresh blueberries
Juice from 1/2 lemon
Place the ingredients in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil, and then simmer 15 minutes. Smoosh the blueberries while cooking if desired.
Remove from heat; cool slightly. Run the mixture through a fine mesh strainer, and mash blueberries with a spoon to extract as much liquid as possible. Reserve the solids for another use (smoothies, ice cream topping). Stir in the lemon juice. Pour into a jar and refrigerate.
Adapted slightly from Closet Cooking
1 cup lemon juice
1 cup blueberry syrup (recipe above)
4-5 cups water or use half water, half club soda for sparkling lemonade
Combine all ingredients in a large pitcher. If using the German Zitronensaft, use slightly less than 1 cup as it is slightly more tart than fresh lemon juice. Chill. Serve in glasses over ice.Blueberry Green Tea
1.5 liters water
2 t green tea leaves
2/3 c blueberry syrup (recipe above)
Heat the water to 185°F/85°C. Remove from heat, and steep the green tea leaves in the hot water for 3 minutes. Discard the tea solids, and stir in the blueberry syrup. Chill. Serve in glasses over ice.To make a blueberry green tea spritzer, fill a glass with ice. Pour in 1/3 to 1/2 glass club soda. Cover with enough blueberry green tea to make a full glass. Stir gently with a spoon. Sip, and enjoy!