Monday, July 18, 2005

My new summer drink

One of the best things about being a transplanted Midwesterner is that everyone thinks you're some kind of genius just because you know how to mix a drink. It just doesn't seem to dawn on people that if you grow up surrounded by drunkards you have to learn these skills at a tender age.

I'll admit that I'm not always that swift in the kitchen. I can manage just fine, but I'm not always the kind of cook who knows how to add "just enough." I like measurements, approximate if not exact.

But when it comes to drinks, I do it all by feel. I just know when I've got the right mix of vodka to orange juice, for example. I can tell by the smell of the lime how much sugar I'll have to add to make that cocktail delicious instead of too tart or bitter. I know how to eyeball a jigger, even if I'm a bit heavy handed (another Midwestern bonus.) It is a proven fact that my mixed drinks are so delicious and deceptively strong that I can put an entire dinner party under the table before the first course is on the table. (I've learned, the hard way, to give the chef half strength drinks to avoid having your dinner ruined before it's served.)

With that, I will share with you my latest summer cocktail advenure, Planter's Punch.

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Squeeze the juice of one lime (or 1.5 limes if you like it tart) into a collins glass. Add sugar or sugar syrup - up to a tablespoon's worth (more if the limes are especially tart.) Mix well. Add soda, about twice as much as the amount of lime juice. Add a bunch of ice cubes and stir until the glass becomes frosted. Throw in a few dashes of bitters, and fill the glass almost to the top with light rum (a shot or two.) Add more ice, then top with grenadine (I like to see the grenadine drizzle down over the ice cubes.) Garnish with lime wedges & whatever other fruit you have. DELICIOUS!

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