Thursday, June 11, 2009

Thirsty Thursdays: West Side Edition

Today, I'm a Diva on a mission; determined to prove, if only to myself, that I can make a luscious, refreshing cocktail and not have it turn out ... pink.

Not that there's anything wrong with pretty pink potables, mind you, but variety is the spice of life and I aim to please.

I've also got a ton of fresh mint and an absurd amount of lemons in my fridge. Naturally, that combination puts me in mind of the South Side, a classic cocktail of Chicago-themed lore. I made a batch of mint infused lemonade and used that as the base.

Minted Lemonade:
  • 1/2 cup of sugar
  • 1 cup of water
  • 3 strips of fresh lemon peel
  • 7 large springs of mint
  • 6 large lemons
  • 5 cups of water
Combine the sugar, water, lemon peel and mint in a small sauce pan. Bring it to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring well until the sugar dissolves. Once it boils, reduce the heat to low and simmer for five minutes. Remove from heat and allow the syrup to cool.

Juice the lemons into a large pitcher - no seeds please, so use a strainer. Add the water and stir to combine. Strain the syrup mixture and add it to the pitcher, stirring well to combine. Serve as is, or use it to form ...

The West Side Cocktail:
  • 1/2 cup of minted lemonade
  • 6 large mint leaves
  • 2 oz. of good quality gin
  • 3 drops of orange bitters
  • some plain selzter for topping up, if desired
  • a sprig of mint and a slice of orange or lemon for garnish
Combine the lemonade and mint leaves in the bottom of a martini shaker and muddle with a muddling tool (seen in photos) or a wooden spoon until the mint is crushed and fragrant. Place some ice into the shaker and add 2 oz. of gin and 3 drops of orange bitters. Shake well, until the outside of the shaker has frosted, and strain into an ice filled tumbler. If desired, you may top up the drink with a bit of plain seltzer - or serve as is, garnished with a sprig of mint and a slice of orange or lemon. Serve and enjoy, repeat as necessary!

As written this recipe will make one cocktail ... and its a beauty! Light, refreshing, slightly astringent - but not overly so - and altogether delicious. If you want to kick it hard-core, you could certainly skip the ice and seltzer and serve it straight up as a martini. Either way it goes down smooth and look ...

... its not the least bit pink!

This is my version of the classic, named for my 'hood, and I'm well-pleased with it. If you're feeling lazy, by all means go ahead and use some prepared lemonade. If you're feeling abstemious, go right ahead and serve the lemonade without the booze. Its all good and all delicious, I promise.

Bon appetit!


Tracy said...

This cocktail sounds absolutely perfect for a hot summer day. I love minted lemonade and making it liquor-y makes it even better!

HektikLyfe said...

These look tasty! If I was a drinker I'd probably embarrass myself with all the "girly" drinks.

Heavenly Housewife said...

Mission accomplished. Not pink, but certainly pretty. Looks really refreshing :D

The Duo Dishes said...

Assumed vodka would be in there, but gin is a nice trade.

doggybloggy said...

careful I feel the grenadine is sneaking up from the shadows,,,,

The Diva on a Diet said...

Tracy - it is perfect for a hot day ... if we ever again have such a thing! LOL

Hektik - They're all mighty tasty ... have one on me!

HH - Thanks, it was!

Duo - you could def. use some vodka in place of the gin. Either would be great. :)

doggybloggy - indeed, we may be back in the pink next week! ;)

Lola said...

This sounds so refreshing. I like the change of pace with the gin. I think gin is so much more refreshing anyway. Wish I had one now...

Mom said...

You *know* how much I dig hard lemonade! I'm sure yours is spectacular.

Say, could I have a PINK lemonade? LOL

Daily Spud said...

I like those instructions "repeat as necessary". Don't mind if I do!

Anonymous said...

I was just at a friends house and she gave me tons of mint from her herb garden - these drinks will be perfect to make! Thanks!

Michele said...

ooooo...minted lemonade! Think I'll try a little of that this weekend.

stephchows said...

bring on the thirsty thursdays!!! yum!

The Diva on a Diet said...

Lola - I agree that gin is more refreshing ... now we just need the summer weather to go along with it!

Mom - yes, I know you do! We have got to share some together ... I'll make yours pink! ;)

Daily Spud - that, my dear, is the most important part of the recipe! LOL

5 Star - ooh, perfect! The kids will like the (unspiked!) lemonade too. Its a 2 for 1! :)

Michele - trust me, it goes down smooth ... so make a pitcher!

Steph - Cheers! Have one on me!

words...words...words... said...

I think I got a little refreshed just reading this.

The Diva on a Diet said...

words words words - excellent, then my work is done here! ;) Thanks!

Deb said...

Looks perfect for summer in Fl!

Tangled Noodle said...

Wait - I haven't made the blueberry margaritas yet, after I was foiled by the lack of Cointreau! I have mint growing like mad in my herb garden - I missed the part about it being a voracious space-hog! As usual, this is a mighty fine refresher that will certainly be tried out in the Noodle household.