I don’t know about you, friends, but in my book, this long weekend can’t get here fast enough. An extra day with the hubs, a low-stress cookout with a few good friends…I can’t wait! And in preparation, I’ve been experimenting with a new SodaStream to mix up a few simple summer cocktails that are going to be just the thing for the 4th.
Now, full disclosure: though I insist on being stocked with sparkling water at all times, I’ve been a SodaStream detractor for years. Mr. SMC has been desperate for one, but I’ve always held out – both because I was worried all my years of weaning him off his soda habit would go down the drain, and because frankly, our kitchen counters runneth over.
But as summer has heated up, cocktails have been very much on my mind. I mean, poolside lounging? Barbecuing on a summer night? Your average Tuesday? All infinitely better with a drink in hand. And, more often than not, those drinks involve bubbles. So, being the benevolent wife/intrepid researcher that I am, I decided to check in with SodaStream and see if they might want to help me mix up a few light summer beverages. And boy, did they! They sent over what is quite possibly the prettiest appliance on my countertop – it’s so clean and modern, I don’t even mind having it out. And they also sent a bevy of mixers to test. As it turns out, I’m a big fan of having grapefruit soda on hand 24/7 for an emergency Paloma. And a sparkling margarita? Why hasn’t anyone thought of this before?
The real fun started when I called my friends over at Bitters + Bottles, who have the most fantastic subscription service to help you build the ultimate home bar, and asked how they’d put a SodaStream to work. The B+B team talked me into experimenting with gin, which I haven’t tried since my law school days (I used to feel so grown up, ordering my Sapphire martini and debating the merits of some esoteric Supreme Court ruling). Turns out, there are some kinder, gentler gins out there these days, and they’re a perfect summer libation – light, herbaceous and refreshing. They suggested a gin fizz (gin + lemon juice + simple syrup + bubbles) as a starting point, and I’ve been tinkering ever since (grapefruit + basil, lime + mint…it’s all in the name of science, friends).
But perhaps my favorite trick of all is this: instead of using syrup to flavor your bubbles, I’ve been using liqueurs and mixers. Creme de cassis, Aperol, limoncello, Lillet Blanc, even a flavored simple syrup…add a generous jigger (or two) of your favorite to a glass of sparkling water, and you have a grown-up libation that will keep you coming back for refills, with no cocktail shaker required. Plus, they’re so light on alcohol, you won’t end up with that icky feeling you get after a day of boozing in the sun.
Now, all I need is one of those little umbrellas and a wedge of pineapple, and I’m ready to get this summer’s party started!