Sunday, June 11, 2017

When In Doubt, Spritz!

My husband loves gadgets. I tend to think it's a guy thing, like when our neighbor, when faced with a chore, chimes gaily, "Every project has a tool budget!" as he runs off to the hardware store. I suppose women do the same thing, as when my mother would invariably need a new pair of shoes or earrings or a fresh lipstick to dress up for an evening out.

Cassis spritzer.

When a package appeared on the front porch addressed to Dave, I texted him at work and let him know whatever he'd ordered had arrived. He texted back, "It must be the soda streamer!" My first thought, after an involuntary rolling of my eyes, was, "The what?" and wondered where this tall, heavy implement might be going to live in our already crowded kitchen.

All it took to bring me around, though, was when he got home and mixed an Americano, a light little fizz monster that has become one of my favorite summer cocktails with it's ruby red sparkle and sweet-bitter tang. Considering what commercial soda costs—not to mention the salt and other additives it can contain—it seems like a no-brainer to fill up a bottle with tap water and in a few seconds get a perfectly decent bottle of fizziness.

Rhubarb soda.

Got kids? Make homemade fruit sodas with whatever's in season at the farmer's market. Need a refresher-to-go for a summer afternoon picnic or backyard barbecue? Whip up some lightly alcoholic spritzers that won't fill you up like beer or put you to sleep before dessert (or make driving home dicey).

I've been using my homemade cassis and elderflower syrup to make a few simple spritzes (elderflower spritzer, top photo), which are simple to assemble on demand or would make a beautifully elegant pitcher with slices of lemon or mint sprigs.

Cassis Spritzer

Four ice cubes
1 1/2 oz. cassis (homemade or commercial)
1/2" wide strip of lemon zest

Place ice cubes in glass. Add cassis and fill with soda. Stir briefly with bar spoon to combine. Holding zest skin-side down over glass, squeeze gently to release oils and drop into glass.

* * *

Elderflower Spritzer

4 ice cubes
1 oz. gin
1 oz. elderflower syrup (homemade or commercial)
Wedge of lemon
2 mint leaves

Place ice cubes in glass. Add gin and elderflower syrup and fill with sodz. Squeeze lemon wedge and drop into glass. Crush mint leaves with your fingers and drop into glass. Stir briefly with bar spoon.

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