Saturday, May 23, 2009

A step-by-step guide to enjoying a glass of lemonade on a sunny summer afternoon

It's Memorial Day weekend, so I thought I'd remind everyone how to make and enjoy a refreshing glass of lemonade. Here are the basic steps:

1. Be sure to make your lemonade on a hot, sunny afternoon--especially if you have just cut the grass. (Or if someone has just cut the grass at the park nearest your city apartment.)

2. Don't trust others to make your lemonade. Do it yourself. You will want to be in complete control of fine-tuning the sweet and sour balance. It's perfectly fine to start with a packaged mix, but be sure to use less water to make it extra sour and extra sweet (because you're going to add a whole tray full of ice cubes when you're finished).

3. Forget the ratty old Tupperware thing you've had for three decades and use a glass pitcher. Nothing looks as inviting as a sparkling, sweating glass pitcher full of icy lemonade.

4. Slice and add one whole lemon. This is crucial for reasons of appearance, aroma, and flavor, so if you don't have a lemon, go borrow one from your neighbor.

5. If you grow your own or can buy it at your local market, add several sprigs of fresh spearmint. This is almost as important as the lemon. (Unless you don't like mint--and if you don't like mint, what in the world is wrong with you?)

6. Now fill a tall, clear glass. For some extra zing, add a splash of pomegranate juice and/or some tonic water. Up to you. Garnish with a lemon slice and more spearmint. (I meant to photograph my glass of lemonade for you, but the glass just couldn't seem to stay full long enough for me to aim and focus the camera.)

7. Take your lemonade to a shady spot outside. A bench near some blossoming honeysuckle is ideal.

Or sit next to a splashing fountain.

And now, the last and most important step for enjoying your lemonade:

8. Do not sip it. Gulp it. And allow a sweet, sticky drop to slide down your chin the way you did when you were five years old and your grandma let you drink lemonade until your tummy felt funny.

After that first long pull, be sure to wipe your mouth with the back of your hand and say "Ahhh!"

There. Isn't that delicious?

And aren't you glad you're not a bird? You are able to enjoy an icy glass of lemonade on a fine summer afternoon.

And you don't have to worry about being eaten by the neighbor's cat while you're grabbing a quick drink out of a fountain, either.

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