And so this is why, when the theme of this month's Creative Cooking Crew challenge - hosted as ever by the lovely Joan of Foodalogue and Lazaro of Lazaro Cooks - turned out to be picnic foods, I knew that my "food" was going to be of the potent liquid variety.
I decided to play with picnic staple lemonade. Recently I was sent a sample of Art in the Age Rhubarb Tea, a craft spirit made with, among other things, organic rhubarb, beets, coriander, and vanilla; using this, I came up with my gin-spiked strawberry rhubarb lemonade, sweetened with strawberry simple syrup.
Here's what you do:
For the simple syrup: Combine 1 cup water, 1 cup sugar, and 1 cup chopped strawberries in a saucepan. Bring to a boil and reduce heat, simmering gently for 5 minutes. Allow to cool and strain.
For the Lemonade: In a pitcher, combine 1 cup fresh squeezed lemon juice, 2 1/2 - 3 cups water, and 3/4 cup strawberry simple syrup (or more, to desired sweetness).
At this point you've got a lovely strawberry lemonade. For the spiked version, fill a high ball glass half way with ice, and add 1/2 ounce rhubarb tea and 1 1/2 ounces gin. Top with the lemonade and 3 shakes of Dale DeGroff's pimento bitters. Stir, sip, and forget your troubles.
If you need me, I'll be drinking mine in a nice air conditioned room.
Foodalogue - you'll find plenty of ideas for your Memorial Day meal!