Beat The Heat of The Dog Days Of Summer
It’s always about this time of year that most of us begin to feel beaten down by the relentless heat of August, with the feel of cool Autumn breezes either a longed for memory, or a future of wishful thinking.
Beat the heat of the Dog Days of Summer with these two very refreshing drinks that take advantage of late season lemons and summer’s quintessential herbs: mint, verbena and rosemary. Find fresh verbena at any greenmarket or farmer’s market herb supplier that specializes in herbs for cooking.
Lemons are good for cleansing the blood and helps combat sluggishness, the mint soothes and refreshes, the verbena relaxes the nervous system, and the rosemary is mentally stimulating.
Lemonade Slushies with Mint and Lemon Verbena
- 1 1/4 cups water
- 1/2 cup plus 2 teaspoons sugar
- 1/4 cup dried lemon verbena leaves or 1/2 cup fresh leaves
- Zest of 2 lemons, cut into 3-inch-long strips, plus 3/4 cup fresh lemon juice
- 1/2 cup fresh mint leaves or 1/3 cup dried
- 2 cups ice
- In a small saucepan, combine the water with the sugar and bring to a simmer over low heat, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Add the dried lemon verbena leaves and the strips of lemon zest and simmer for 10 minutes.
- Remove the saucepan from the heat. Stir in the lemon juice and mint and let stand at room temperature until cool. Refrigerate until thoroughly chilled, about 20 minutes.
- Strain the lemon mixture into a blender along with the ice. Blend on high speed until smooth and frothy. Pour into tall glasses and serve right away.
Make Ahead: the strained lemon mixture can be refrigerated for up to 3 days.
Lemon and Rosemary Granita
- 3 cups water
- 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar
- 4 4-inch sprigs fresh rosemary, or 3 tablespoons dried rosemary, crumbled
- 4 1/2-by-3-inch strips lemon zest
- 1 1/4 cups lemon juice (from about 5 lemons)
- 3 tablespoons Grand Marnier or other orange liqueur
- In a medium saucepan, combine the water, sugar, rosemary, and lemon zest. Bring to a simmer, stirring occasionally. Remove from the heat, cover, and let infuse for 10 minutes.
- In a large glass or stainless-steel bowl, combine the lemon juice and Grand Marnier. Strain the rosemary syrup into the lemon juice and stir to combine. Chill in the refrigerator or, to hasten the process, pour the lemon mixture into a stainless-steel bowl, set it in a larger bowl filled with ice, and stir until cold.
- Pour the chilled lemon mixture into two 9-by-9-inch stainless-steel pans. Freeze for 15 minutes. Stir well and return the pans to the freezer. Continue freezing, stirring every 15 minutes, until the granita is completely frozen, about 1 hour in all. When ready to serve, scoop the granita into chilled bowls or stemmed glasses.