Friday, May 4, 2012

CL Hint of the Day: Weekend Refreshment

Having officially made the switch from hot tea to iced this week, I thought it would be a good time to share my favorite hint for summer beverages. While sugar cubes are a lovely choice for wintry beverages, they'll be sitting at the bottom of your glass just looking cute well into an iced tea or coffee. So, I like to keep a jar of simple syrup on hand in the fridge all summer.

The ratio of sugar to water can be anywhere from 1:1 to 2:1; I tend towards making it concentrated and using less, so I have to restock less often. The typical method is just to boil the two together until dissolved, but if it's too hot to use the stove even for that small job, you can just pour the two together and give the jar a little shake every time you walk past. Add a favorite fresh herb or citrus zest to the mix for a flavored syrup (say, some mint for this weekend's julep?), if you like.

If a tall pitcher of lemonade is more your style, here's a hint for you: a recent issue of Cook's Illustrated recommends juicing lemons or limes a few hours in advance (but less than six). There are flavor compounds in the juice that oxidize and hit their peak in that time frame. (Orange juice, however, is best freshly-squeezed.)

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