Thursday, 3 September 2009

Summer Heat Prescribes a Cool Drink

Normal summer temperatures have finally arrived in late August and early September, but to be honest with you I didn't complain mostly since I do appreciate playing Ultimate in cooler temperatures, I sleep better in cooler temperatures and I've been spared some higher hydro bills for cranking on the A/C. That said, I do appreciate hot weather as well as it allows for trips to the beach and easier excuses to get frozen desserts and refreshing summer drinks. Yes, classic bar drinks like pina coladas and daiquiris helps make a hot summer's day more relaxing, but for those who won't or can't drink alcohol, there are still plenty of good options out there. One drink I discovered at some Vietnamese, Thai and other general south-east Asian restaurants a few years ago shortly before I moved west.

The lime... this tart little citrus fruit easily evokes tropical images. It tastes more acidic than the lemon, but partly because of this I feel that the lime's flavour has a stronger impact than that of a lemon. I've had plenty of lemonade, both fresh and mixed from frozen concentrate as a kid, but my eyes were opened to a new dimension when I first tried fresh lime soda. It is really simple to make, and it is quite pleasant and refreshing. It provides more of a zing than lemonade, yet it tastes considerably more natural than most if not all existing mass-produced lemon-lime flavoured sodas. So, with a BBQ dinner earlier this evening with fellow Ultimate team mates, I decided to make a batch to share with them.

I do caution that my version is just a suggested formula, and you could tweak the recipe to suit your taste. I for one like a stronger lime flavour which is why I called for this many limes (I used eight this time around), but one could go easier if one wishes a milder kick. Also, substituting cold water for club soda (I prefer President's Choice) would easily turn this drink essentially into limeade. Furthermore, this is a simple version which allows for the drink to be portable in existing, easily sealed bottles. Just as lemonade can be made with fresh lemon slices or even halves in the mixture upon serving, lime soda can be done that way as well, but it won't be as portable for such events as potlucks or out-of-home picnics.

Lime Soda (suggested)
1 2L bottle of club soda
1 empty 2L bottle
8-10 limes
Simple syrup to taste

For simple syrup:
250mL (1 cup) white sugar
250mL (1 cup) water
  1. To make the simple syrup, pour the sugar and water into a small pot and heat, stirring often, until the sugar is completely dissolved. Remove from heat and set aside to let cool.
  2. Roll the limes to soften them before halving them cross-wise. Squeeze and ream limes, saving the liquid in a large bowl, preferably a non-metallic bowl as acids react with metals.
  3. Pour half the 2L club soda into the empty 2L bottle.
  4. Pour half of the lime juice into each 2L bottle, stirring the mixture with a chopstick or other slender wooden object like the stem of a wooden spoon.
  5. Pour simple syrup into both bottles to taste. Not all of the simple syrup has to be poured, but pouring more than 125mL (1/2 cup) of syrup (i.e. more than half of batch made) is not recommended as the drink could be too sweet. Stir mixture with chopstick or other slender wooden object.
  6. Seal both bottles and chill before serving.

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