It's August. If you are reading this it is because you are stuck at work while your friends are off at their "lake houses" and "beach trips." The news, domestic and international, is awful. You need to relax. You need a cool beverage to relax. Allow me to suggest that the optimal beverage is a lemon rosemary vodka fizz.
The lemon rosemary vodka fizz has several benefits. First: it is cheap as hell. Lemons are cheap, sugar is cheap (this is America), seltzer is cheap, and low end vodka is cheap. Rosemary is the only expense.
Second, this drink can be made with or without the alcohol. It tastes basically the same either way. Anyone abstaining can enjoy it with you.
Third, the syrup which forms the basis for the drink can be made in large batches well in advance so even the tiny amount of manual labor required to construct it needn't happen ahead of time.
Fourth, it is my firm anecdotal belief that drinking vodka (if you are a drinker) leaves you with no hangover whatsoever so long as you remain steadily on course throughout a night of drinking. This, I believe, is a secret Russians have kept to themselves.
Fifth, this drink is universally popular. I have tested it on the young and old. All sang its praises. It's like lemonade, except it's pretentious lemonade, and people enjoy feeling a cut above the average.
Here is how you assemble a lemon rosemary vodka fizz, modified from a recipe I found on Epicurious lo these many August moons ago:
- First, you juice a bunch of lemons, until you have a full cup of lemon juice. In my experience, this takes about 8 lemons, but it depends on whether you buy the monster "conventional" sort or Meyer lemons, which are smaller and sweeter. I have not noticed an appreciable difference in the quality of this drink depending on lemons used, so feel free to be super-cheap.
- Then you get yourself a cup of sugar and pour both into a pot large enough to hold them. Add two sprigs of rosemary, which I recommend you wash thoroughly first.
- Bring this to a boil while stirring. Simmer for a couple of minutes once boiled, making sure all the sugar's dissolved. Then let that stuff cool. Remove the rosemary sprigs.
- Pour a small amount of the syrup in a highball. (Stemless wineglasses, red-wine size, are also good.) Add ice, seltzer, and if wanted, vodka to taste.
This drink is very good with fancy crackers and nuts though cheese can be pushing it. Be conservative about garnishing the drinks with more sprigs of rosemary; if they're too long it just gets in the way of your mouth and up your nose and it's not that attractive.