In support of summer weather I bring you this cooling drink so you can settle into the deep heat. Let if flow over you; welcome it because it won't stay forever and you'll be craving it soon. Sip cold drinks, point fans at your barely clothed body and avoid turning on your oven. This is how I live in hot summer months.
Pros of Hot Weather
- No need for a sauna, you live in one
- A multitude of cold drinks all day long
- Swimming feels exceptional and necessary
- Being lazy and not feeling bad about it
- Patio drinks
- Rose wine (or frose)
- Hair on head grows faster
Cons of Hot Weather
- Hair on body grows faster
- Bugs everywhere
- Hot garbage smell (in the city)
- Hot manure smell (in the country)
- Under boob sweat
- Back sweat pooling in butt crack
- Chub rub– the struggle is real my fellow thick thigh ladies (and men).
- It's so hot your drink sweats and slips out of your hand and spills all over your new summer dress. But at least you're cooled off so maybe it's a pro?
I've been obsessed with blueberries lately (see my blueberry tarragon gravlax). They are a classic Canadian summer food and I feel the need to devour them in pies, smoothies, jams, muffins or all on their own. They awaken memories of wandering through forests, swimming in lakes and the sound of cicadas on hot days.
I just returned from a camping trip with two of my favourite people and we had the most amazing time. We canoed down a river filled with lilies and lily pads, saw blue herons up close, bought doughnut and watermelon floaties and swam in the waves of Lake Huron, made delicious camp food, played cards, sipped on these wine-ciders (half cider + half pinot noir = the perfect cooler), listened to baby wolves howling at night and relaxed into our naturey surroundings. It reminded me how peaceful and calming my mind can be and how connected I feel in the outdoors. It reminded me I live in an outrageously beautiful country with a rich history of people who lived off this land and respected it to the highest degree. It reminded me of the beauty all over the world and how much I still want to see and experience. As much as I tend to dislike winters in Canada (which feel never ending), the summers are so gorgeous that it might make up for it. No Canadian has ever uttered the words “Winters go by so fast!". If they do they're lying and are probably trying to get you to visit when it's cold and dark and all they'll want to do is cuddle and eat bread. Don't. Do. It.
But do come in the summer. It is breathtaking.
Let's talk simple syrup for a hot minute. I want to show you how to make your own easily and with more exciting things than white sugar. This recipe calls for a honey simple syrup. Don't worry, it takes no time and you'll have a new skill to impress people with.
Standard simple syrup recipes are a 1:1 ratio of sugar/sweetener to water. If you prefer a thinner less sweet syrup, add a bit more water than sugar. If you prefer a thicker sweeter syrup, add more sugar than water. “Rich syrup" is a 2:1 ratio of sugar to water. Usually simple syrup is made by adding water and sugar/sweetener of choice to a small pot and heating to just before a boil until fully dissolved. But there is no need to turn on the stove on a hot day. Below I have included the lazy person's way which is how I usually make drink syrups of all kinds.
Make simple syrups out of any of the following for subtle but different flavours:
- Demerara or turbinado syrup– for a deeper more caramel-like flavour. Good for tropical drinks/ rum drinks.
- Honey syrup– you can use any type of honey you like. Good for iced black/green tea, drinks with jasmine, gin, lemon, or bourbon.
- Agave syrup– the lighter in colour the agave is, the more it will taste like classic simple syrup. The darker in colour the more rich the flavour will be, closer to honey. Good for margaritas (lighter agave), tequila or mezcal cocktails, drinks with lime or watermelon.
- Coconut sugar or brown sugar syrup– for a deeper, more molasses-like flavour. Good for winter cocktails, old fashioneds, bourbon based cocktails.
- Maple syrup– use real maple syrup always. Good for old fashioneds, bourbon based cocktails, ciders, mulled wine, dark or light rum, any warm winter flavours like allspice, cinnamon or clove.
One Minute Honey Simple Syrup Recipe
- Boil water in your kettle. Add equal parts of honey and boiled water to a container with a tight sealable lid. Shake vigorously for 10 seconds or until completely dissolved. Keep in fridge for up to one month. Make as much or as little as you like.
BLUEBERRY LEMON MINT SODA
inspiration: hot summer days in Canada
the feels: sweet, tart, fresh, effervescent
eat with: barbecued fish, blueberry tarragon gravlax, a splash of gin, watermelon feta salad
might like if you're into: Foraging, fruit galettes, pine forests, canoeing, The Great Lakes, the sound of cicadas, daddy long legs, wading in rivers
- 1 cup blueberries (frozen)
- 2 tablespoons coconut sugar
- 4 - 6 tablespoons water
- 1/2 lemon zested
blueberry lemon soda (one serving)
- 1.5 ounces (3 tablespoons) blueberry preserves
- 1/2 ounce lemon juice
- 1/4 ounce honey simple syrup (see above for easy one minute recipe)
- 4 mint leaves
- sparkling water
- mint sprig or lemon wheel for garnish
- Add blueberries, sugar, lemon zest and 4 tablespoons of water to small pot. Stir and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer blueberries for 10 to 15 minutes. Add 1 to 2 more tablespoons of water if thick. The final consistency should be more like blueberry syrup, not thick like jam. Let cool, pour into mason jar and seal. Keep in fridge for up to one week or in the freezer for up to two months.
blueberry lemon soda
- In a cocktail shaker (or mason jar), add blueberry preserves, lemon juice, honey simple syrup, and mint leaves. Fill shaker or jar 3/4 full with ice, seal and shake for 10 seconds. Fill short rocks glass with ice, open cocktail shaker and strain (with cocktail strainer or hand held strainer) over rocks glass. Top with sparkling water, stir gently and garnish with mint sprig or sliced lemon wheel. If using a bigger/taller glass or making two, double the ratios in the recipe.