If there’s one drink that’s the embodiment of summertime in America, it’s good ol’ fashioned, homemade lemonade! The simple, timeless combination of lemons, sugar, and water creates the most refreshing beverage during these dog days of summer. Pretty much every recipe out there will tell you to juice some lemons, add sugar and water, stir well – and voila! Good stuff. The really smart recipes will instruct you to make a quick simple syrup first, which is a big improvement. But I have an upgrade that will make for the best damn lemonade you’ve ever tasted – and you still only need those three ingredients: lemons, sugar, and water!
August is here, and in southern New Hampshire, the ripe, crimson cones of sumac trees are dotting the edges of roadways and fields everywhere you look. The Staghorn sumac, or Rhus typhina, is very easy to identify thanks to those spiky red cones coated in fuzzy fibers, reminiscent of velvety deer antlers. Sometimes confused with Poison sumac (Toxicodendron vernix), the staghorn, smooth, and winged sumacs that grow throughout the US are actually all edible – and quite delicious! Fortunately, there is no confusing the edible from the non-edible sumacs, as Poison sumac produces white berries, and edible varieties produce red ones.
You can sip on tiki cocktails year round, but they’re that much better on the beach, poolside, or even just lounging on the couch in front of the AC on a hot summer day. The tiki genre is a vast and eclectic sea of cocktail recipes, but most have the following characteristics in common: the use of rum, tropical fruits, citrus juices, and often exotic spices in the form of syrups, liqueurs, or bitters. You can’t go wrong with a classic Mai Tai, but if you’re looking for something new and different, give one of these a try the next time you’re in the mood for something tropical.
It’s almost officially summer, and wild cocktail ingredients are flourishing all around yards, fields, and forests in the northeast. June is a fantastic month for foraging in New Hampshire, and it seems that every day a new plant is popping up around my backyard. Dandelions, violets, plantain, daisies, yarrow, milkweed, wood sorrel, and many more wild edibles are easy to find this time of year, and growing in abundance.
If it’s possible that there’s one thing I’ve become a bit known for in my little corner of the internet, it’s making a pretty cocktail garnish. As a photographer and a highly visual person, I have always been immediately drawn to a drink (or a plate, for that matter) that is beautifully presented. It’s in our nature to be drawn to beauty, to seek it, and even to be influenced by it. Yes, in many ways, beauty truly is power.