Celebrate Summer with Strawberry Bourbon Lemonade

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Strawberries: They’re Not Just For Shortcake

Strawberry Bourbon Lemonade No time for rolling out pastry today, but I did have enough time to mix up one of my favorite summer cocktails, strawberry lemonade. The quick version, that is. And also let me clarify that I did not create the concept for this particular drink, although the recipe is my own. I had it at the Union Square Café in New York a few years back. Where I also had a wild mushroom risotto with roasted figs and gorgonzola, by the way. That was the best risotto I ever ate, incidentally.

But I digress.

I love this bourbon-based libation so much that the drink has since become a seasonal favorite to celebrate summer strawberries.

From a nutritional standpoint, this begs a further discussion of the role of alcohol in health, a topic for another day. Suffice to say that if you don’t drink alcohol, I am NOT saying you should start: it is a drug and needs to be treated as such. That said, if alcohol is something you enjoy responsibly, not only does it have health promoting properties (in moderation), there are many wonderful things you can do to bring the summer farmers’ market bounty into your drinks as much as your dinners.

So, back to the drink. Here’s the how-to.

Strawberry Bourbon Lemonade

Ingredients and Instructions

Muddled StrawberriesMuddle up a bunch of local strawberries and mint together using a mortar and pestle or on a cutting board. I used 6-7 smallish strawberries and a full sprig of mint. Add a squirt of agave nectar or 1/2 oz simple syrup and the juice from half a fresh lemon. The mint can be more or less, depending on your preference. You could omit it altogether if you like, although it’s obviously there for a reason, providing balance and complexity; I enjoy it both ways depending on mood and mint availability.

Muddled LemonsIn a cocktail shaker containing ice, add equal parts bourbon and lemonade (say, 1.5 ounces or so each for a single serving) along with the muddled strawberry mixture and, if you’re feeling frisky, 1/2 ounces St. Germain. Shake and pour into a rocks glass. Although I personally tend to prefer drinks served straight up, this is definitely a cocktail that should be served on the rocks, allowing for larger pieces of strawberry and mint to inflect the drink. Oh, and by the way, of course you could use homemade simple syrup mixed with fresh lemon and water or muddle lemons with superfine sugar and water to create homemade lemonade rather than using store-bought, as I sometimes do when I”m so inclined. But a hiqh-store-bought fresh squeezed lemonade works just fine in a pinch. The berries are the star, anyhow.

Here’s to summer strawberries, as luscious in a glass as on a plate or out of hand.


This post was Written on 10 July 2011 and updated first on 27 May 2012 and again on 17 June 2013. Still a favorite. And for a slew of strawberry-inspired recipes, click here.

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Dr. P.K. Newby is a nutrition scientist, speaker, and author with expertise in all things food, farm to fork, whether preventing obesity and other chronic diseases through diet or teaching planet-conscious eating. As a health expert and food personality, she brings together her passions for food, cooking, science, and sustainability to educate and inspire, helping people eat their way towards better health, one delectable bite at a time. Healthy Hedonism (TM) is her philosophy: Because healthy food shouldn’t suck.

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