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Mint Lemonade

April 27, 2010

My mother has a set of girlfriend’s she’s known for about 50 years now. The Lindas they’re called, because there’s Linda N. and Linda G., and then my mom, (who’s not a Linda). But, they all met in Oklahoma City, circa 1959 and 1961. I’ve written about them before on these pages–here’s where they were my Madras testers. I don’t think they minded in the slightest.

Linda N. has an absolutely refreshing mint lemonade recipe, which will forever remind me of the first time I drank it, on a mild May day at her cabin in the Colorado mountains while on vacation with my family. It makes me think of old friends and family. Well, and springtime, and something to quench your thirst after weeding around all the mint in the garden.

This particular lemonade, with the hint of mint, also makes me think of this weekend’s Kentucky Derby whose juleps out of silver tumblers will surely be tipped. With a nod to the Derby, and classic things, it seems as good a time as any to bring up the jacket I’m wearing sent to me by Next, out of the UK. This jacket is one of their Classic 5 items for spring. And indeed, to me it’s as classic as old friends, the tradition of the Kentucky Derby, and of course, sipping sweet mint lemonade.

Linda’s note–I was given this recipe in 1966 by my college roommate’s mother and have been serving every summer since. Some people like to mix alcohol with it … but it is good just by itself.

In a saucepan combine 1 ½ of sugar and 2 ½ cups of water to make a simple syrup. Cook for 5 minutes. Cool slightly. Pour this over 1 cup of freshly washed mint leaves and the zest of 1 orange and 2 lemons. Let this steep in the covered saucepan for 2 hours.

Strain the pulp and reserve the sweet mint syrup.

Add the fresh juice of 2 oranges and 6 lemons to the concentrated mint syrup.

At this point you can store in a glass container in the refrigerator for up to one week. As needed, combine in glasses of ice water using the proportions of approximately 1/3 concentrate and 2/3 cups water (or to your own taste). Garnish the glass with a slice of lemon and a sprig of mint and serve.