Summer Cocktail Week: How to Make a ‘Minted Vodka Lemonade (To Go)’

Photos by Ryan Benoit and Tim King

We’re big believers in rock gardens. Why? For one, that’s where we try to contain our mint — which grows and grows and grows…and grows. If we ever decided that we didn’t want to grow mint anymore, well, too bad; this fragrantly aggressive herb will just keep coming back, pushing rocks aside if need be. So we’re committed, and are happy that we’ll never have to buy mint from the supermarket again. (And have lots on hand to give to coworkers…)

Whenever the mint needs to be trimmed back from our Day of the Dead skull, we scramble for new ways to use it. Yes, there are mojitos, but this hotter-than-usual summer has us thinking more about lemonade stands.

Summer-Cocktails-Minted-Vodka-Lemonade-To-Go-ryanbenoitphoto-thehorticult-RMB_5851

Photo by Tim King.

That’s why this Minted Vodka Lemonade from Epicurious caught our attention. (You might remember it from our La Jolla/Asheville recap.) We love it because it’s tart and refreshing, supported by an icy vodka backbone. And, when you replace Epicurious’s fresh-squeezed lemonade with a high-end store-bought version, it becomes a snap to make.

Perfect for a day at the shore.

Although we live only a block away, we take longer to get ready for the beach than anyone else we know — and that includes people with children. Children! Aside from packing our super-chic, ultra-cool, rad-killer backpack chairs with books, paddleboards, sunblock and sandwiches, we put a lot of time into the mixing and containment of our adult beverages.

For example, this crowd-pleasing lemonade. Here’s the recipe.

Summer-Cocktails-Minted-Vodka-Lemonade-To-Go-ryanbenoitphoto-thehorticult-RMB_6955

Minted Vodka Lemonade (To Go)

Ingredients:

Makes 1-1/2 quarts, about 10 servings.

For minted vodka lemonade base:

2 cups vodka

2 cups homestyle lemonade (look for cane sugar in the ingredients, and lemon juice not from concentrate)

1 bunch of mint sprigs

1 lemon, sliced into wheels

For cocktails:

1 bunch of mint sprigs

2 lemons, sliced into wheels

Club soda

Method

For base: In an insulated beverage pitcher mix vodka, lemonade, mint and lemon wheels. Mix and muddle with wooden spoon to bruise mint. Do not add ice, refrigerate.

In each glass or plastic cup, muddle a lemon wheel with two sprigs of mint. Add a handful of ice and pour in the vodka lemonade base until glass is three-quarters full. Top off with club soda. Stir and serve.

Summer-Cocktails-Minted-Vodka-Lemonade-To-Go-ryanbenoitphoto-thehorticult-RMB_6939

We found a homestyle lemonade with cane sugar and lemon juice (not from concentrate) and with no artificial ingredients.

Summer-Cocktails-Minted-Vodka-Lemonade-To-Go-ryanbenoitphoto-thehorticult-RMB_6943

For the minted vodka lemonade base, mix equal parts lemonade and vodka.

Summer-Cocktails-Minted-Vodka-Lemonade-To-Go-ryanbenoitphoto-thehorticult-RMB_6949

Retro insulated pitcher optional. (Yard sale find!)

Summer-Cocktails-Minted-Vodka-Lemonade-To-Go-ryanbenoitphoto-thehorticult-RMB_6952

Mix and bruise the mint with the lemon wheels. Do not add ice as it will water down the base. Refrigerate.

Summer-Cocktails-Minted-Vodka-Lemonade-To-Go-ryanbenoitphoto-thehorticult-RMB_5864

Now to make the cocktails…

Summer-Cocktails-Minted-Vodka-Lemonade-To-Go-ryanbenoitphoto-thehorticult-RMB_5871

We muddled a lemon wheel with a couple mint sprigs.

Asheville to La Jolla on The Horticult

We added ice and the minted lemonade vodka base, and then topped with club soda. Photo by Tim King.

Summer-Cocktails-Minted-Vodka-Lemonade-To-Go-ryanbenoitphoto-thehorticult-RMB_7238

(With some colorful loopholes, drinking on the beach was banned in ’08 in San Diego, so our contraband must be mostly premixed and, uh, spirited to the beach in anonymous plastic containers…)

Summer-Cocktails-Minted-Vodka-Lemonade-To-Go-ryanbenoitphoto-thehorticult-RMB_6965

Summer-Cocktails-Minted-Vodka-Lemonade-To-Go-ryanbenoitphoto-thehorticult-RMB_5909

Or take this party to the beach.

 

 

 

 

 

 

  • barbara

    how refreshing!! I planted our mint on the OTHER side of our low wall… so that it is on the GREEN BELT….ha! lifetime supply.. except when the greenbelt gardeners weed whack it but hey.. it just comes back lusher! so easy to make tabbouleh with my lemon tree and mint always handy.