It's cocktail time! Isn't it funny that spring hasn't even officially made an entrance, and yet here I am already thinking of summer cocktails!? My apologies for the lack of photo styling folks, but eh, we were working in the yard today and I was tired, so maybe next time I'll do a nice, pretty, styled picture.
I don't imbibe in alcohol much these days, heck, I don't even have the proper bar tools except for what is leftover from my younger years, though I keep saying I'm gonna remedy that. But, for now, my shaker is a quart Mason jar, the same thing that we very often drink sweet, iced tea in, or build a bbq sundae in from our leftover picnic fixin's. My strainer? I use a regular ole kitchen strainer. Simple living. That's how we roll Down South.
So... when I do have a drink, I want it made from fresh ingredients and not bottled bar mix. It just really makes a big difference and tastes so much better in my little ole opinion. So treat yourself, make up a batch of simple syrup to keep in the fridge, and use fresh lemons when you make a citrus cocktail. I know they aren't particularly cheap, but next time you catch a bag of them marked down, grab them and use this tip so you'll always have fresh juice on hand. The flavor just cannot be beat. You can even make up a big batch of homemade sweet and sour mix ahead of time to keep in the fridge.
If you are looking for a sugar free alternative to simple syrup, Da Vinci syrups has a bottled simple syrup, perfect for cocktails called Da Vinci's Sugar Free Sweetener Syrup. That link is just for illustration - pick it up straight from the Da Vinci website, where shipping is more reasonable, especially if you pick up a few more flavors while you're there. And no, I'm not affiliated with Da Vinci, they have no idea who I am, so I don't earn a penny from your purchase, I just happen to love their quality syrups!
A Vodka Collins - and a Tom Collins for that matter - are both favorite cocktails of mine, because it's basically like drinking an adult lemonade and I love citrus anything. After a long day of yardwork, it's sure a refreshing weekend cocktail to wind down with! Why not enjoy one tonight?
From the kitchen of http://www.deepsouthdish.com
1/2 cup of 2:1 simple syrup, cooled thoroughly
1/2 cup of lemon juice (about 3 lemons)*
2 ounces of vodka
Maraschino cherries, for garnish
Lemon wedge or slice, for garnish
Splash of soda water, optional
Mix the cooled simple syrup with the lemon juice. Fill shaker with ice, add the vodka, and lemon juice simple syrup mixture; shake well. Pour into tall glass and top with a splash of soda water, if desired. Spear a lemon wedge and a cherry, for garnish.
*If you like it more on the tart side, use a 2:1 ratio of lemon to simple syrup instead (1 cup of lemon juice to 1/2 cup of simple syrup). I prefer lemon juice alone for a vodka collins, but you can also combine lemon and lime juices.
Make it a Tom Collins, by substituting gin for the vodka. I like the lemon/lime citrus combo for a Tom Collins.
Tip: To get more juice from your lemon, stab it with a fork a few times and microwave on high for 15 to 20 seconds, then roll it on the counter under your palm a few times. Cut in half and use a citrus juicer for best results.
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