summer drinks: spiked (or not) mint lemonade

I remember completely futile and pointless lemonade stands. My childhood best friend, Lindsey, and I would mix a batch of Country Time, pour it into a plastic pitcher, and wait by the road behind a table for cars to stop and taste our wares. Over the course of the five or so years we lived on the same street, I think we got fewer than ten customers, mostly because no one really drives by residential streets. Had we been smart, we would have begged our parents to drive us out to the park or the community pool, where the foot traffic and thirsty children might better help us rake in the dough. Instead, we left ourselves a convenient “out”: after about ten minutes of sitting in the stifling Texas heat, we grew bored, abandoned our posts, and did something more worthwhile with our time. Like play in the sprinklers or torment my little sister.

The booze is entirely optional.

Spiked Mint Lemonade
Adapted from Simply Recipes
Makes 1 pitcher
Note: to make it alcohol-free, just skip the booze!

You will need:
1 cup sugar
1 cup water
1 cup fresh-squeezed lemon juice (65 or 6 lemons)
3-4 cups cold water
1 oz. per serving liquor of your choice (I used tequila, but rum and vodka would both be delicious)
Fresh mint sprigs

Combine sugar and 1 cup water in a saucepan over medium heat, and heat until sugar is completely dissolved. This makes simple syrup!

Meanwhile, juice 5 or 6 lemons to get 1 cup lemon juice. I use my hands, but if you have a juicer, go for it.

Combine simple syrup, lemon juice, and water in a pitcher, and add ice. Add lemon slices and mint to the pitcher. Now you have Virgin Lemonade.

To spike the lemonade, either add the booze to the pitcher itself, or (my personal preference), sugar the rim of a tumbler, add ice and an ounce of booze, and fill the glass with lemonade. Garnish with a lemon wedge and a mint sprig.

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