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Watermelon Mint Agua Fresca

Nothing spells refreshment like a juicy piece of ripe watermelon—except maybe this cooling agua fresca that adds fresh mint and lime juice to the mix.

 

4 cups fresh watermelon, peeled, seeded and chopped into 2-inch chunks

1/4 cup fresh mint leaves

1 cup water

1 oz. fresh lime juice

1 Tbsp. granulated sugar
Tools: blender, chinois strainer (or cheesecloth-lined colander), pitcher, large spoon

Puree the watermelon, mint and water. Strain into a pitcher and add the lime juice and sugar. Stir and serve over ice.

 

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Photo by Stuart Mullenberg

Citrus Crème Latte

 

2 heaping Tbsp. whole-leaf black tea (try a robust Nilgiri tea from India)
8 oz. boiling water
1/2 a vanilla bean
2 oz. milk
Sweetener to taste
Ice

 

Tools: heat source, strainer, shaker, muddler or long-handled spoon
Glass: pint glass
Garnish: citrus wedges (lemon, orange or kumquat) to taste; (optional: citrus twist, spices or fruit juice)

Cover tea with boiling water and let steep for up to 4 minutes. Strain out leaves and pour tea into a shaker. Add half a vanilla bean and muddle well. Add milk, sweetener and ice cubes and shake to chill. Strain into an ice-filled pint glass. Squeeze citrus wedges into the drink and leave in the glass. Optionally, you can also garnish with a citrus twist, a pinch of a spice of your choosing, or a splash of fresh fruit juice.

Anthony Arnold, Remedy Teas, Seattle

 

 

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Meyer Lemon and Star Anise Soda

This easy homemade soda combines the wintry flavors of Meyer lemon and star anise for a delicious seasonal sipper.

 

1 qt. water
4 oz. granulated sugar
Lemon peel from 2 Meyer lemons, including pith, diced
5 toasted star anise pods, crumbled
1 oz. strained Meyer lemon juice
Ice cubes
Tools: saucepan, soda siphon and charger (or use bottles of Fever Tree club soda)
Glass: Collins
Garnish: lemon twist or wedge

Bring the water to a boil. Remove from heat and stir in the sugar, diced lemon peel and crumbled star anise. Allow to steep for 1 hour. Strain syrup, add Meyer lemon juice and refrigerate until cold. Pour into charged soda siphon, dispense into ice-filled glasses and garnish. If you don’t have a soda siphon, combine 1 oz. of the strained syrup with 1/4 oz. of Meyer lemon juice and 4 oz. of club soda.

 

Makes 4 servings.


Adam Bernbach, Estadio and Proof, Washington, DC

 

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Photo by Stuart Mullenberg

The Scarecrow

Bartender Kelley Swenson says his inspiration for this mocktail’s name came from using dried chamomile flowers (from loose-leaf chamomile tea) as a garnish and finding them reminiscent of sun-dried hay.

 

5 one-inch cubes Crenshaw or cantaloupe melon
3/4 oz. chamomile tea, cooled
1/2 oz. rich simple syrup (see below)
1/2 oz. fresh lemon juice
Ice cubes
Tools: muddler, shaker, strainer, fine-mesh strainer
Glass: rocks
Garnish: chamomile flowers (dried or fresh) or small melon ball

Fill shaker with ice and melon. Muddle through the ice, breaking up melon into little bits. Add tea, simple syrup and lemon juice. Shake vigorously. Double-strain into a glass over fresh ice. Garnish.

For rich simple syrup, heat one cup water with two cups sugar until dissolved. Cool and pour into a clean container. Keeps refrigerated for at least four weeks.

Kelley Swenson, Portland, Oregon

 

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Photo by Stuart Mullenberg

New England Buck

In creating this mocktail, Tom Schlesinger-Guidelli was looking for a way to marry warming winter notes with classic New England flavors. Combining a sage-juniper syrup with apple cider did the trick, and then he added ginger beer “to remind us in the winter months of the tropics, and also give a flavor that in and of itself is hot.”

 

4 oz. apple cider
1 oz. sage and juniper syrup (see below)
1 oz. fresh lemon juice
2 dashes Regans’ orange bitters (see tip)
Ginger beer
Ice cubes
Tools: shaker, strainer, barspoon
Glass: highball

Combine all ingredients with ice except the ginger beer and shake briefly to integrate ingredients. Strain into an ice-filled glass and top with ginger beer. Stir and serve.

 

Sage and Juniper Syrup
1 cup sugar
1 cup water
5 fresh sage leaves
10 juniper berries (dried ones are available at many gourmet groceries)

Heat ingredients in a saucepan until sugar dissolves. Remove from heat and let sit 10 minutes, then strain into a clean glass container. Keeps refrigerated for up to a month.

 

Tom Schlesinger-Guidelli, Craigie on Main, Cambridge, Mass.

 

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