Sunday, March 23, 2014

Israeli Lemonade and Other Blender Tricks


The omnibus edition of this year's pig roast, Porkpocalypse III: Snorty's Revenge (spoiler alert: the pig dies) is coming, but already there have been demands for our drinks recipes.

We made two interpretations on the theme of aguas fresca this year to remain kid friendly without having to resort to buying a boat load of soft drinks (the adults were free to, and did, mix in whatever adult beverages they chose - answering that most important question: does it mix well with vodka?).

The first of the two is a drink inspired by the Israeli lemonade served at The Holy Land Restaurant in Oakland called "limonana."

Limonana:

  • Juice of 12-16 lemons.
  • 1/2 of a whole lemon.
  • Rind of 4 lemons.
  • 1 cup of fresh mint.
  • 6-8 sprigs of fresh cilantro.
  • 2/3 cups of sugar (we used regular white sugar, but this could just as easily be made with a turbinado or brown rice syrup or even honey).
  • 1 tablespoon of kosher salt.
  • 1 1/2 liters of seltzer.
  • 3-4 cups of crushed ice.

They key to doing this right and not ruining your blender is order of operations: soft stuff on the bottom, hard stuff on the top. The mixture has to get going before it encounters any ice whether you are using a $400 Vitamix or a $100 Osterizer.

Pile in the herbs first, followed by the lemons and lemon juice, sugar, ice and then salt.

Purée the mixture then divide across two pitchers and top off with seltzer, stirring lightly to mix.

The resulting drink is still quite strong and can be further tamed by additional seltzer, to taste, or of course the booze of your choosing.


Strawberry Cilantro Cooler:

  • 2 quart sized packages of organic strawberries, rinsed and topped.
  • 1 cup of fresh cilantro.
  • 2/3 cups of sugar.
  • 2 teaspoons of kosher salt.
  • 1 1/2 liters of seltzer.
  • 3-4 cups of crushed ice.
Second verse, same as the first.