Thursday, August 8, 2013

Minty Limeade

Mambo No. 5 by Lou Bega
We're going down Cuba way today, folks.  The birthplace of the mambo AND the mojito - which is the inspiration for today's recipe - the drink, not the dance.  We're in the dog days of summer.  That heat is hanging on.  And this drink is what's helping me enjoy every single ray of sun.  Come on, Lou!  If only my name rhymed with - well, anything - I'd get a shout out, too!  Let's mambo our way to the store to get some limes and mint . . . . and club soda!  Party at my place!

I've been trying to cut back my intake of diet sodas.
I'd really become a champ at chugging those drinks down.
And I mean CHUG!!!

Then I heard about how using artificial sweeteners can contribute to memory loss.  
I didn't hear it just once - I was hearing it over and over again.
And, well, my memory has kinda been taking a hit lately.  
Just little things - but enough to annoy the heck out of me!
So I've been trying to find other things to drink - just in case.

I need to point out one big flaw of mine.
I'm guessing it's a big flaw by the reaction I get from water lovers everywhere.
They look at me like I look at people who say they don't like chocolate.
Like I've got a third eye growing out of my forehead or something.
Sorry - but I just prefer to not drink water.
So, for the last couple decades - since diet sodas actually started tasting good - I've been their biggest fan!  You can drink zero calories, just like with water, only it tastes a heck of alot better!

Then the memory news.

In my quest to cut back on my drinking of diet sodas - and artificial anything, for that matter - I have found myself at a loss as to what to drink.  Zero calories is not an option going sugar-free so I've resigned myself to the fact that I will have to make allowances for some calories in my drinks.

I've been making some iced herbal teas - which have been super tasty.  You'd be surprised at how refreshing chamomile can be.  And rooibos, too!

But then I came across the virgin version of a mojito.
I can't remember where.
Like I said, memory glitches.

But ever since I had that first sip, I have been spending a great deal of time with Mr. Mo Jito!  
Sans the rum, of course.  
I fancy myself on a veranda with Ernest Hemingway - lazing away the afternoon - enjoying small talk about war and love and nature.
It's a good time.

Mint and lime!
Refreshing and fresh!
That's what this drink is!
And you can control the calories by adjusting the ratio of club soda to simple syrup.  
More club soda = few calories.

I make up a large pitcher of the minty lime base and keep it ready in the fridge.
When I make up a glass - or mug - I add some fresh mint leaves and limes and I'm good to go!
Summer sun?
Bring it on!!!
Me and Mo have it covered!

Minty Limeade
makes 2 qts.
2 c. sugar
2 1/2 c. water
6 stems of mint leaves
7 limes
2 c. water
club soda

Mix together the sugar and the 2 1/2 c. water in a small saucepan and heat, stirring to dissolve the sugar.  Once sugar is dissolved, remove from heat and add the leaves off of 4 stems of mint.  Stir and cover and let steep until cool.  You've just made a mint simple syrup!  

Once the syrup is cooled, remove the mint leaves and pour the syrup into a 2 quart pitcher.  Juice 6 of the limes for 1 cup of fresh lime juice.  Add the juice to the syrup in the pitcher.  Add the remaining 2 cups of water and stir.  Keep this mixture in your fridge.

To make up a glass of Minty Limeade:

Fill a tall glass about a third full with some ice.  Remove the leaves from the remaining stems of mint, saving a sprig for a garnish, and tear the leaves up into pieces.  Put into the glass with the ice.  At this point, you can use a wooden spoon and smash the leaves around on the ice.  This will help the mint release it's flavor and really boost the flavor of your drink!
Add some of the minty lime mixture from the pitcher to make about 2/3 full.  This is where you will be able to play and see what ratio you like the best.  Stir.
Slice that remaining lime into thin slices and add some to the glass.  Then pour some club soda over the whole of it to fill to the top.
Add a straw and stir a bit, getting all the flavors well-acquainted with each other!  And don't take your eye off the glass, lest someone sneak in for a sip . . . . or three!

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