Simple Summer Fun: Lemon-Limeade Concentrate

For the first time in my life, I have a Costco membership. I’ve always resisted, having no storage space and only 2 people to buy groceries for. But due to some tire problems on a roadtrip, and Costco saving the day, I found myself back at home for another long hot month of summer with a membership card burning a hole in my pocket.

Last night, on our inaugural grocery shop, I came across a mammoth bag of lemons and limes. They were just so pretty and happy, all jumbled up in their bag. Sunny yellow and tropical green, singing a siren song about homemade lemon-limeade. And I couldn’t resist, even though there were about 20 fruit in the bag (which is kind of an insane number when you have no firm citrus plans). But it was a good impulse buy, as I recently acquired an amazing citrus press from Crate & Barrel (an impulse buy on my roadtrip). So all this following-of-citrus-gut-instincts came to fruition (literally) in my kitchen this evening.

About 20 minutes of squeezing and squashing 5 lemons and 5 limes yielded 1.5 cups of lemon-lime juice. Mix this with 3.5 cups simple syrup (2 parts water, 1.5 parts white sugar, heated to boiling and then cooled), and you’ll have a mason jar full of concentrate, just ready for mixing with still or sparkling water any time you fancy a refreshing summer drink.

I mixed around 1 part of the concentrate with 2 parts water, threw in a handful of ice, and the drink had the perfect sweet-tart ratio you expect, with a hint of lime with the lemoniness. I declare this citrus indulgence a firm success.

Lazy Sangria

Wild Berry Sangria - Glass

I’m going to confess right off the top: this is not my invention. I can take no credit for my friend Laurel’s genius creation, and only hope she takes no offense at the “lazy” moniker. I only mean that is easy to make (and to drink). Heck, even drunk people can do it.

For the version pictured above, we threw a bunch of wild raspberries and blueberries in a jar, and topped those off with some sliced strawberries. Next, a bottle of cheap red went in, home made will do. Add to that a bottle of prepared Sangria wine, I can’t remember which brand we used but I have to assume they all contain some wine, some booze and some fruit juice. When you’re ready to serve, mix that together with the secret ingredient- Orangina! Who knew this cute little bevvy, the one I ordered so politely on 8th grade French fieldtrips, would come in so handy later in life.

This combo produces the perfect blend of fruit, wine, booze and fizz.  It disappeared pretty quickly, and we started topping it off with more wine, some orange juice, and even a scoop or two of lemonade powder when the going got tough. As long as there is fruit at the bottom of the jug, you’re obligated to refill.

Once you’re suitably tipsy, play some sort of board game that makes people reveal what they really think. We recommend True Colours……it’s fun any time, but so much more so with a glass of Sangria by your side.