This Cucumber Mint Lemonade starts with an infused honey syrup for a refreshing summer beverage and healthy soda alternative. Try it as a cocktail too!
“Home is where the heart is” is… bullshit, right? For half of my childhood, I grew up in a brick home, on a corner lot, with a big yard, a plum tree, a red barn and a sizable garden. That house was home. It was such a character-filled brick house that if it came on the market today, I might consider moving back to my childhood suburb for the house alone.
We moved from that house when I was in middle school- the stressful end of an era of relative comfort. From that point on, we were rather rootless, and I realized how feelings do take root in structures. Home can mean very concrete elements- an outdated wallpaper, an aged tree, pocket doors and a porch.
Those porches were everything in summer. The back porch was the base for eating my weight in corn on the cob and tomato-mayo sandwiches. The front porch was the storm watching central. At the time, I probably thought my dad was crazy for how much time he spent simply sitting on the front porch, watching the neighborhood or watching the rain, but now, I get it. Now I crave a front porch, where I could just sit and observe, all the while sipping a refreshing lemonade.
(Don’t get me wrong–I’m very grateful for the apartment and life I do have. These are just porch/house musings.)
I may not have a porch, but I do have this Sparkling Cucumber Mint Lemonade recipe in my back pocket. Rather than cane sugar, this recipe uses an infused honey syrup, so it’s also a spring allergy remedy if you’re the spring sneezing type.
I collaborated on this recipe with my friend Lindsey Smith, aka The Food Mood Girl. Lindsey does have a porch, so you might find us sipping and scheming on her porch as the summer season fades.
Lately, Lindsey and I have taken to celebrating National Food Holidays because why not? There’s a day for everything (like watermelon) and a good excuse to flex some creativity. This beverage finds you just in time for National Lemonade Day just in case you have a porch and feel like celebrating.
This combination also works well as a cocktail. Fancy up the cucumber garnish, add a splash of whiskey (my preference) or gin in place of some of the water, sip slowly, and enjoy the fading summer.
Sparkling Cucumber Mint Syrup
About this Recipe: Whether you’re making drinks for a gathering, or simply want to make something refreshing for yourself, this is your drink! The main prep is creating an infused honey syrup, which acts as a concentrate for sparkling water. Try using a sweet basil or other varieties of mint for different versions. The syrup also makes a great gift for a neighbor. Pour it into a pretty jar, tie it with a ribbon, and voila!
Cucumber Mint Syrup
1 cup filtered water
1 cup honey
1/2 large cucumber (about 8 oz.), thinly sliced crosswise
24 fresh mint leaves, plus more for garnishing
12 fresh basil leaves
Bring 1 cup water and 1 cup honey to a boil in a small saucepan until honey is dissolved.
Remove pan from heat and add cucumber slices, mint leaves, and basil. Cover and let steep for 30 minutes.
Strain cucumber-herb syrup into a jar, pressing on solids in strainer. Store in the refrigerator. Reserve some of the sweetened cucumbers for garnishing the drink. Discard the rest.
Cucumber Mint Lemonade
Yield: 1 serving
2 Tablespoons Cucumber Mint Syrup (recipe above)
fresh squeezed juice from 1 lemon (or less, to taste)
~ 1/2 cup carbonated water
Fill a 12-oz. glass with ice cubes. Add cucumber mint syrup, lemon juice and top with carbonated water. Stir to combine.
Garnish with a sweetened cucumber slice and a sprig of mint.