The sun has a longstanding history of becoming oppressive in late June. The humidity in the air swells as I walk outdoors in the afternoon heat, wishing I had something to fan myself. Living in the heart of the Midwest, I am continually astounded at the extreme cold and heat I experience each year, spanning a temperature range of 120 degrees between January and July. Perhaps that's why when summer finally arrives—heat, humidity, and all—I close my mouth against complaints about the soaring humidity and learn to embrace the beautiful weather instead.
Enjoying the summer heat would feel incomplete without a tall glass of fresh lemonade.
Last Wednesday, after a long day in the middle of an even longer week, I decided that my glass of summer lemonade could wait no more. As I rooted around in the refrigerator, I came up with a single lemon, not nearly enough to round out the pitcher of lemonade I had dreamed of all afternoon. Instead of shutting the refrigerator door with a sigh (as I so often do), I found another use for the lemon. With a little club soda and liquor, the lemon transformed itself into a sparkling cocktail.
With the spirit of that tall glass of lemonade alive in my new drink, I put my feet up and gladly sipped it down, the evening sun shining brightly through the window.
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Sparkling Lemon Drop takes the classic summer lemonade and turns it into an adult cocktail. A squeeze of lemon juice is mixed with a shot of vodka and a touch of orange liquor to round out the citrus flavor. A pinch of sugar brings out sweetness while the addition of club soda makes it bubble and pop. This cocktail is lovely on hot summer afternoons, when the day is long and the weekend is too far away.
Sparkling Lemon Drop
Yields 1 serving
2 ounces cold vodka
1 ounce orange liquor
1 ounce freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 teaspoon granulated sugar
1/2 cup (120 ml) club soda
In a serving glass, stir together the vodka, orange liquor, fresh lemon juice, and sugar until the sugar dissolves. Top the glass with club soda. Add ice and top with a lemon slice, if desired.