We all try to pack a lot into summer - swimming, boating, biking, fishing. Add to that family get-togethers, holidays and mowing the yard once in a while, and it's no wonder these three months fly by.

Every so often it's good just to sit on the deck, the dock or in the front yard and kick back and enjoy life in the lakes area.

There's a line in a move from the '80s ("Ferris Bueller's Day Off") where Ferris says, "Life moves pretty fast. If you don't stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it."

That's definitely good advice that more of us should follow. And why not mix up a great batch of cold drinks while sitting back with your feet up?

Summertime drinks can be anything from lemonade to a wine slushie. One ingredient common in many drink recipes is a simple syrup. This syrup is just a mixture of equal parts sugar and water that you bring to a boil to make sure the sugar is fully dissolved into the water.

Simple syrup is indeed simple. It is basically mixing up sugar and water for the foundation of a drink. One thing to keep in mind is that when mixing one cup of sugar and one cup of water, you don't end up with two cups of syrup. The actual amount of syrup made will end up measuring only to about a cup and a half.

It's always better to mix a bigger batch than your recipe calls for and refrigerate any extra mixture. Simple syrup will keep in the refrigerator for about a month.

Several drink recipes have you slightly moisten the rim of a glass and then dip that glass into salt or sugar to jazz up the drink. Some people find that adds a lot to the drink; others of us find it is a waste of time. Depending on your personal preference, this step can be a vital part of the recipe or a step you can eliminate.

Nothing beats a cold drink on a hot day. Make a batch of your favorite drink and stop, sit and sip and enjoy the beauty of the lakes area before summer (life) passes you by.

Happy Eating.

 

Watermelon Margaritas

 

  • ¾ cup white sugar
  • ¾ cup water
  • 3 cups cubed seeded watermelon
  • 3/4 cup tequila (or lemon lime soda or ginger ale for no-alcoholic drinks)
  • 1/4 cup lime juice
  • 1 lime, cut into wedges (for garnish, if desired)
  • Small pieces of watermelon (for garnish, if desired)
  • 2 cups crushed ice (add more ice if the drink is too strong )

 

Place the sugar and water into a small saucepan and bring to a boil, stirring constantly. Turn heat to low and simmer just until the sugar is completely absorbed into the water, about three minutes. Remove from heat and let cool.

Place the watermelon in a blender. Pulse until it is in small pieces. Add the simple syrup (sugar/water mixture), tequila, lime juice and crushed ice. Mix until blended, but still slushy.

Optional: Run a lime wedge around the rim of the glass. Then place the glass (rim side down) on to a plate with sugar or salt to make a coating on the rim. Pour the watermelon mixture into the glasses.

If desired, add lime and watermelon wedges to jazz up the glasses.

 

Pineapple Lemonade

Adapted from damndelicious.net

 

  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 cup lemon juice
  • ¼ cup pineapple juice
  • 2 tablespoons lime juice
  • Additional water (4 to 5 cups)
  • Pineapple wedges (if desired, for garnish)
  • Mint leaves (if desired, for garnish)

 

To make the simple syrup, combine sugar and water in a medium saucepan and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to simmer and stir until the sugar has dissolved; let cool.

In a large pitcher, whisk together the simple syrup, lemon juice, pineapple juice, lime juice and 4 cups of water. Taste. If too strong, add additional water ½ cup at a time until the desired taste is achieved. Place in the refrigerator until chilled.

Place ice in glasses an dpour the lemonade over the ice. Garnish glasses with pineapple wedges and mint leaves.

 

Wine Slushie

 

  • 2 cups white wine (a sparkling or sweet wine works best)
  • 3 cups frozen strawberries or raspberries
  • ½ cup simple syrup (see above recipes for directions on how to make a simple syrup)

 

Place all ingredients in a blender. Mix slightly so ingredients are combined, but still slushy, Pour into glasses and serve.

Place any extra mixture in a container and freeze. Remove from the freezer and let thaw for 15 to 30 minutes before serving the frozen slushie.