So, for my birthday this past year, way back in January, Eric and I went out to Wise Acre Eatery, which is one of my favorite restaurants. It was a lovely evening. We were relaxed due to a glass of good wine and a good babysitter at home with Owen.
However, throughout our meal, I found myself looking over Eric’s shoulder at these two middle-aged women a few tables over in an otherwise fairly empty restaurant. I tried to be subtle, but they both just seemed a little off to me. The two of them barely said a word to one another throughout the whole meal. And one of them even sent her meal back…not angrily. Just kind of awkwardly.
Eric kept asking me what I was looking at, and I couldn’t really tell him why these two had my attention. But then, it happened.
Towards the end of our meal, one of the ladies got up to use the restroom. While she was there, her friend dumped the remaining water in both of their water glasses out into their empty wine glasses, stacked the two water glasses together, and subtly put them into her purse, keeping a straight face the whole time.
I, on the other hand, had dropped my jaw and stopped talking, mid-sentence, as I watched this all unfold. Did that really just happen? I stayed silent as the two exited the restaurant and got into their car, which was parked just outside the window we were sitting near.
Mouth still agape, I watched them by the light of their car’s dome light, hoping to see them both crack up as though they’d just completed some colossal dare…or some absurd theft-based scavenger hunt task.
But no. Straight faced, they drove away.
It was only after they pulled away that I closed my mouth and answered the question written all over Eric’s furrowed eyebrows. I described to him what I had just seen, and we both spent the next twenty minutes alternately saying and thinking, What the what?!?!
I can’t tell you how bizarre it was. These were not teenagers. They looked like they probably had college-aged kids. They did not appear to be drunk. But they calmly stole two water glasses. I mean…is this normal? Have any of you witnessed something like this before?
We laughed as we remembered this instance when we were pulling out glasses to photograph this lemonade in. I’m not even sure which one of us brought it up, but as we plunked the mason jars down, we were both cracking up.
So that was January, and this is July. And this is your new summertime drink. A simple “juice” is made by boiling down and then straining rhubarb, lemon zest, sugar, water, and mint. That sweet and tart goodness gets added to fresh-squeezed lemon juice and some lemon-lime soda, and voila, it’s a summatime party in your mouth. I loved the hints of mint and rhubarb that came through, and I know we’ll be making this simple summer drink again!
(recipe from Food 52 )
(serves 2, though amounts for 6 listed as well)
This sparkling rhubarb lemonade is the perfect addition to your summer. Sweet, tangy, fizzy, cold - summer perfection.
I've listed the recipe amounts for two servings but included serving amounts for SIX in [brackets] after each ingredient in case you want to make more. The only thing that would change is if you're making a pitcher's worth and will not drink it right away, you will want to add the ice and lemon-lime soda JUST before sering:
1 1/8 c. water [3 1/2 c.]
1 2/3 c. (about 4 med. stalks) chopped rhubarb, fresh or frozen [5 c.]
1/4 c. sugar [3/4 c.]
one 2 -inch strips lemon zest [two 3-inch strips]
1 sprigs fresh mint + 1 leaf for garnish in each glass [3 sprigs; garnish leaf the same]
1/3 c. freshly squeezed lemon juice [1 c.]
2/3 c. lemon-lime soda or more to round out each glass [2 c. +]
Ice cubes - enough to fill each glass
In a saucepan, stir together the water, the rhubarb pieces, the sugar, the lemon zest and the mint sprig. Bring the mixture to a boil, stirring until the sugar is dissolved. Reduce heat, cover and simmer for 20 minutes.
Let the rhubarb mixture cool, the strain it through a wire-mesh strainer set over a large pitcher. Press on the solids to extract as much liquid as possible. Discard the solids
Stir the lemon juice into the rhubarb mixture.
JUST BEFORE SERVING, fill glasses with ice, pour equal amounts of the lemon juice / rhubarb mixture into each glass, and fill the remainder of the glass with lemon-lime soda. Garnish each glass with a mint leaf.