Known as the signature drink of the region, a tall glass of iced tea in the South goes with just about every event- church suppers, family meals, ladies luncheons, and it’s just perfect for porch sitting on a sizzling summer day.
Southern Sweet Tea
2 cups water 3 regular size tea bags or 1 family size (Lipton recommended) 1/2 cup granulated sugar 2 cups cold water
Directions 1. Place 2 cups water in small saucepan or tea kettle and bring to a boil. 2. Turn off heat, add tea bags and steep for 3 to 5 minutes. Remove tea bags and discard. 3. Add sugar, stirring until dissolved. Pour into pitcher. 4. Add 2 cups cold water and stir; cool completely. Refrigerate until ready to serve. Serve over ice and if desired, with a slice of lemon. Yield: 4 cups
Combine 1/2 cup granulated sugar with the finely grated zest of 1/2 lemon. Let sit at room temperature until slightly dry, about 1 hour. Spread sugar mixture on a small plate. Moisten the rim of glasses with a lemon wedge, then dip in sugar mixture before filling with ice cubes and iced tea.
Great for picnics and family reunions, homemade limeade is the perfect summer beverage. Freeze it for frozen pops or slushies. Recipe can be halved.
Ingredients 2 tablespoons fresh lime zest 1 1/2 quarts fresh squeezed lime juice (approximately 20 juicy limes) 3 3/4 cups granulated sugar 6 quarts cold water
Directions 1. Add all ingredients to a 2 gallon container and stir until sugar is dissolved. (You can make a simple syrup by heating the sugar with an equal amount of water, stirring until sugar dissolves. Cool completely.) 2. Chill thoroughly before serving over ice with lime slices. Yield: 2 gallons
Hot Southern summers are perfect for refreshing infused water.
Ingredients 1 Granny Smith apple, cored and seeded, thinly sliced into rounds 1 medium cucumber, thinly sliced 4 to 6 sprigs fresh mint 1 gallon water
Directions 1. Place all ingredients in a gallon container 2. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour before enjoying
I love to keep this water in the refrigerator all summer. Sometimes, I change and put berries in the water.
I’m not the biggest indulger of alcoholic drinks, but when summertime hits, all I want to do is sit on a shady porch or under a tree, with a good book and a deliciously iced boozy drink in hand. These are a some of my go-tos:
Ingredients 8 cups seeded and cubed watermelon 1 cup good vodka (I prefer Grey Goose) 1/2 cup fresh squeezed lime juice 1/4 to 1/2 cup granulated sugar Ice cubes Lemon-lime soda
Directions 1. Place watermelon in the container of a food processor or blender and process until smooth. Pour through a fine wire-mesh strainer and discard solids. 2. Stir in vodka, lime juice and sugar. Chill until ready to serve. 3. Pour over ice in a tall glass three-quarters full and top with lemon-lime soda. Gently stir. Garnish with a watermelon spear and lime slices. Yield: 8 cups
Pepper Jelly Margarita
Kick back with this potent yet smooth Mexican cocktail that’s the perfect balance of tangy, spicy and sweet.
For a festive look, zest the lime and add to the salt before dipping the rims of the glasses. Store salt rimmed glasses in the fridge or freezer for up to an hour before serving.
To coat the rim of a glass: cover the surface of a small plate with a shallow layer of rimming salt or sugar (a cocktail rimmer is a great tool to use instead). Moisten the outside edge of the glass rim with a wedge of citrus. Holding the rim down at an angle, slowly rotate the outside edge through the coating ingredient, taking care not to get the coating inside the glass. Gently shake off any excess coating.
Ingredients 1 cup white tequila 1 cup fresh squeezed lime juice 1/2 cup orange liqueur (Cointreau recommended) 1/3 cup confectioners’ sugar 1/4 cup green pepper jelly
Directions 1. Stir all ingredients together in a pitcher until sugar and jelly is dissolved. 2. Fill a cocktail shaker with ice cubes and pour desired amount of mixture into cocktail shaker. Cover with lid, and shake. Serve immediately. Yield: 3 cups
COOK’S NOTES: Always add the sparkly ingredient last to keep the carbonation as fresh as possible. Give the concoction a gentle stir to mix the flavors without overdoing the bubbles.
It’s not just for looks – garnishing adds fragrance and flavor to any cocktail. Go beyond lemons and limes, and use fruit, vegetables and fresh herbs.
Decorative ice cubes are easy to make and add both color and flavor. Filtered or bottled water will produce the clearest cubes.
*Citrus Cubes: Using a paring knife, peel and segment lemons or any other small citrus fruit. Place the segments in ice cube trays, leaving a little of each segment exposed, then fill with water and freeze. Use with drinks that include lemon or other citrus juices.
*Zest Cubes: Cut long, thin shreds of lime, lemon or orange zest or a mixture. Arrange a few shreds of zest in ice cube trays, then fill with water and freeze. Use in margaritas or other citrus-accented drinks.
*Melon Cubes: Scoop balls of watermelon, cantaloupe or other melon. Place the balls in ice cube trays, then fill with water and freeze. Use in tropical-themed drinks or in drinks made with melon or melon-flavored liquer.