I was wearing my travel-agent hat for the better part of the day today. I found myself scouring through various travel publications and last-minute travel websites in search of a holiday destination for a quick getaway; a curious fact considering that my husband and I are just coming off the heels of a 3-week winter holiday, but they say, “no man needs a vacation so much as the man who has just had one” and so, we are clearly an exemplification of that adage. So all this talk about holidays and destinations boasting balmy beaches and resorts, left me with a hankering for a sweet elixir of sorts; a cool summery drink to suit the mood I was in. So perhaps you’re thinking that this drink is not conducive to this time of year, but I beg to differ. What better time is there than the dead of winter to whip up a pitcher of sweet lemonade, kick up your heels, and reminisce about past holidays spent in warmer climates.
This particular drink is one we first enjoyed in Dubai; a drink that was introduced to us by our good friends from across the pond, Naveen and Rehan. It has become a quick favourite in our home. The recipe is indigenous to the Middle East with Syria, Turkey and Lebanon all having claimed credit for the origins of this sweet drink. It’s the type of drink that hits the spot on a cold winter’s day spent indoors, as much as it does on a sweltering hot day in the peak of summer. The flavour is very much what you’d expect of a lemonade — a balance of sweetness and tartness — but there’s a residual taste of fresh mint that livens the drink completely and transforms it from your run-of-the-mill, pedestrian lemonade to a higher flavour profile. The colour is deep and gorgeous and intensifies as it sits in the bottle or pitcher. The texture is similar to that of a margarita as the slush from the crushed ice rises to the top creating a foam of sorts that is both beautiful to look at and adds a textural element with the crunch of pulverized ice cubes.