The weather in Japan is warm, getting humid, and bringing people outside by the hundreds. The Tama River, which sits just outside our apartment, has been filled with young Japanese people craving the outdoors. They come armed with charcoal grills and plenty of alcoholic beverages while leaving their inhibitions inside. Just the other day, I experienced my first incident of theft since moving to Japan. On the back of my bicycle I had a bungee cord to secure bags or boxes in case my basket was too full. The one time I really, really needed that bungee cord, someone had snatched it. I had to lug all of my bags home, awkwardly as ever, while balancing on my bike.
With the exception of the stealing thing, it is great to see so many people out and about. Yesterday, it was so warm outside and the sun was shining and I began to feel like it was July in Minnesota. Hot. Humid. Bright and sunny.
As with my last cocktail blog, weather played a big role in determining what was poured over ice, or on some days, into a wine glass, for me.
Cold, refreshing, and bubbly. Those were the three factors I knew needed to come together in my glass. In my refrigerator, I had a bottle of sparkling pink lemonade and a couple of lemons, while outside on the balcony I had some lemon thyme. This one came together almost too easily. It was the ideal drink for the weather today and gave me a reason to use some of my fresh herbs in a new way. I’m a little obsessed with herbs in cocktails. Call me crazy, but it’s just one of those things…
Sweet, slightly tart, and deliciously but subtly herby (herby? yep…that’s the only way to say it.) This pink lemonade and thyme sparkler was perfection on a warm afternoon sitting on the balcony. I hope you’ll give it a try!
Pink Lemonade and Thyme Sparkler
Makes 1 cocktail
6 oz. Sparkling pink lemonade
1 shot vodka
1 tablespoon lemon-thyme simple syrup (recipe below)
Lemon wedge and thyme sprigs for garnish
Pour the vodka and simple syrup in the bottom of a glass. Stir together. Fill the glass with ice. Pour the pink lemonade over the ice. Garnish with a lemon wedge and thyme sprigs. Sip away!
Lemon-Thyme Simple Syrup
2 teaspoons lemon-thyme, chopped
1/4 cup water
1/4 cup sugar
Combine the water, sugar and thyme in a saucepan over medium heat. Bring to a simmer. Simmer until the liquid thickens and reduces slightly. Remove from the heat. Strain the simple syrup to remove the thyme leaves (this is optional based on your preference- if you don’t mind the leaves, go ahead and leave them).