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Splashy Summer Cocktails (Summer vacation isn’t just fun for kids)

By Anna Sawin

anna-22-1.jpg on kid o info

So yes, this is me. I was one of five lucky women to get made over for Real Simple magazine in the July 2008 issue. They took us not-so-fabulous chicks from the hinterlands of the U.S. and brought us to New York where they styled us and groomed us and used nouns in the singular saying things like “I’d prefer a really crisp denim pant” and “perhaps try a charcoal gaucho with that smoky eye,” all uttered without a SHRED of irony.

So when you start seeing photos like this of yourself in national magazines, wearing a “pricey shoe” and a “white denim pant” and people start writing about you like this–”Anna’s wardrobe isn’t drab, she loves color!”–it’s time to get out Martha Stewart’s Hors D’oeuvres Handbook and serve something appropriate for the outfit.

However, I can’t POSSIBLY cook dressed like this, so I will have to simply mix up a few of these cocktails and start sipping. Join me? I’ll be on the patio by 5:30 p.m.

Limon (Lemon Drop)

1 cup crushed ice, plus ice cubes for chilling
1/2 cup fresh lemon juice, strained
2 Tablespoons superfine sugar
4 ounces vodka
3 sprigs mint

Fill glasses with crushed ice and place them in the freezer. Pour the lemon juice, sugar and vodka into a shaker with ice and shake hard for 30 seconds or until the sugar is melted. Pour the liquid over the crushed ice in the glasses. Rub the lip of each glass hard with a mint leaf just before serving, and garnish with a mint sprig.

Fresh Lime Daquiri

Martha says: Tinted sugars of various crystal sizes are an ideal decoration, not only for baking, but also around the rim of a cocktail glass. Select shades that contrast nicely with the drink you are making. To make your own, add just the smallest toothpickful of either paste or gel food coloring to superfine sugar, then blend until the color is combined with the sugar and the desired shade has been reached. Anna says: I WILL BE SKIPPING THAT STEP. I DON’T WANT ANY FOOD COLORING, EITHER A PASTE OR A GEL, ON MY WHITE DENIM PANT.

2 Tablespoons light green sanding sugar for the rims of glasses
3/4 cup fresh lime juice (save halves)
1/4 teaspoon grated lime zest
6 ounces good-quality light rum (no Bacardi’s Rum PLEASE. My tenth-grade self thanks you.)
1/3 cup plus 1 Tablespoon superfine sugar

Pour the sanding sugar into a saucer big enough to encompass the rim of the glass you are using. One at a time, rub the rim of each glass with reserved half of a lime, so that the lip is wet about 1/8 inch into the glass. Immediately dip the rim of the glass into the sugar. Gently tap the glass to remove excess sugar. Set aside.

Add the lime juice, zest, rum and sugar to a blender. Stir until the sugar is dissolved. Add ice to fill half the blender. Blend on high until all the ice is pureed and the mixture is slushy, about 1 minute. Pour immediately into the prepared glasses and serve.

Mango Cocktail

Martha says: Look for mangoes that have unblemished, yellow skin blushed with red. This cocktail is more delicious with fresh mango juice made in the blender than canned or bottled mango nectar. Anna says: But of course.

4 1/2 ounces light rum
1 Tablespoon superfine sugar
1 1/2 cups mango puree (about 2 mangos)
3/4 teaspoon Cointreau
1/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 teaspoons fresh lime juice
6 ounces seltzer or sparkling water

In a large pitcher, whisk together the rum and sugar until sugar has dissolved. Add the remaining ingredients. Whisk to combine.

Fill four tumblers with ice. Divide the liquid evenly among the tumblers.

Pomegranate Martinis

Martha says: Pomegranate juice is often sold in the produce section of your grocery store. Of course, you can also juice your own, scooping out the seeds and pushing them through a fine-mesh sieve. Anna says: OF COURSE.

5 ounces tequila
1 1/2 ounces Triple Sec liqueur
5 ounces fresh lime juice
2 ounces pomegranate juice
1 Tablespoon super fine sugar
Sugared Rose Petals, for garnish

Fill a cocktail shaker halfway with ice. Place all of the ingredients except the rose petals in the shaker and shake hard for 30 seconds. Fill 2 glasses with ice and strain the liquid into them. Garnish each glass with the rose petals.

Sugar Rose Petals

Martha says: The sugared rose petals give these pretty drinks a very special look. Anna says: As if I’m spending my time putting egg white on roses while wearing my awesome new outfit.

1 small bunch pale pink edible (unsprayed) one-inch roses
1 large egg white
1 cup of our old friend superfine sugar

Place the roses in a vase filled with cool water while you work. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. In a small bowl, whisk together the egg white with four or five drops water to thin the consistency. Place the sugar in a second small bowl, and place a pair of tweezers and a teaspoon nearby.

Choose petals that are smooth and unblemished (OF COURSE) and, working one petal at a time, dip the petal into the egg mixture and use your fingers to coat it. Cover the entire petal, and wipe off the excess. It will appear as though the petal is lightly veiled in the egg-white mixture.

Using the tweezers, hold the petal, and lightly sprinkle sugar on the petal, sugaring the front and back and tapping off the excess. Allow petals to dry for at least four hours or until crisp and brittle.

Now that I’ve got you good and liquored up and laughing yourselves silly over sugared rose petals, I’ve got a favor to ask of you fine Kidoinfo people.

I want to hear what your fun summer cocktail is this year. Even if you’re drinking Pabst Blue Ribbon in a can, spill it.

Well, not really, but you know what I mean. Leave us a love note in the comments telling us what you’re enjoying as a summer cocktail this year, or more likely, what you would be enjoying if someone would just sugar your rose petals for you!

P.S What the hey is superfine sugar and where do I get it?

Anna Sawin has high hopes of trying all these cocktails plus a few more this summer, and wants to know if anyone has actually ever tried sugaring rose petals. Anna blogs at Hank & Willie.

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  • I have that issue of Real Simple and remember your photo (in all seriousness, you look wonderful in your white denim & cute shoes).

    Although proving my true naivety, I also thought to myself how amazing it was that your gorgeous living room (in background) matched your outfit….of course, I now realize you were on a set in NYC.

    The setting looked so perfect that I would have believed you to be the type of woman who spends her time hovering over a bowl of sugar with a pair of tweezers & piles of rose pedals!

    Thanks for the recipes, I can’t wait to try the Lemon Drop!