JQ's Summer Tonic (Adult Beverages)
To get started you will need:
1. A cocktail shaker or a sturdy glass like an ale glass
2. A jigger or other measuring device
3. Something to smash the ingredients against the ice . . . if you do not have a wooden muddler, a wooden spoon works very well
4. A juice squeezer is convenient, or simply squeeze the heck out of the fruit to get maximum juice
Vodka - does not have to be great vodka (I use Absolut)
Preparing the tonic (an individual serving at a time):
Start by putting broken or chipped ice into your cocktail shaker (filling only about a third of the container) and add the following ingredients:
- One slightly rounded teaspoon of white sugar (a simple syrup would be probably be better, but I don't bother)
- The juice of one medium sized lemon (more or less, depending on taste)
- Use one long sprig of fresh rosemary. If using the stuff from the grocery store, it's typically dry/not as fragrant, so you might want to use two sprigs.
- 6-8 large leaves of lemon balm (or double if the leaves are tiny)
Break up the rosemary into little bits (roughly an inch or so in length). If the sprigs are especially woody, you should remove the leaves and minimize the amount of wood you put into the shaker. The leaves of the lemon balm can be randomly torn to reduce the time required to bring out the maximum essence. Smash the ingredients together to bruise the leaves and release the oil all over the ice bits -- it should smell really nice before adding the liquid. Add 6 ounces of vodka, cover and shake until the cocktail shaker is really cold in your hands. Strain the tonic as you pour it into a martini glass.
Variation on the theme: If you want to make a tall cocktail, you can add a little 7-Up to the mixture and serve in a highball glass over ice.
If you want to make the cocktail pretty, garnish with a small twist of lemon rind, a paper thin slice of lemon, or a small sprig of lemon balm. If you want to dress it up even more, you could wipe a lemon wedge around the edge of the glass and dip it in sugar before adding the beverage and garnish.
If you cannot find any lemon balm, you can substitute with fresh mint. If somebody suggests that the cocktail is a "yummy mint mojito," let them know they are mistaken because mojitos are traditionally made with rum.
Warning: these tonics are refreshing and it is easy to consume 2-3 while enjoying good conversation. At 6 ounces each, it does not take long to become "over the limit" with respect to driving anywhere.