Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Sip: Thirsty Lemonade

Today, I got on a bike for the first time in 10 years.

I have nothing against biking, just nowhere to put a bike in my urban home. Coupled with a general apathy toward sport, it has fallen to the wayside over the years. Until today. We are on vacation in beautiful Martha's Vineyard, MA, and this year rented me a bike of my own.

My daughter just learned to ride. She has a green monster of a bike that she proudly pedals up and down the street lie a pro. Five years old and already she shows the promise of an athlete in all her endeavors; her gymnastics teacher named her 'muscles'. Anyway, she has been asking if I could ride a bike too, and a little voice in my head told me, "yes you can, yes you must".

I stood next to my wobbly grey bike, getting ready to get on, when my husband snuck up to wish me luck. "By the way, you know how to use the gears, right?" Gears? What are gears? I never learned to ride with gears. Panicked, I let him show me the way to use them, and coach me on hills, up and down. I was getting ready to make an excuse, fake a leg cramp, offer uxorious erotica, anything to get out of it, when my daughter sidled up to us and asked brightly, "Ready, Mommy?" Her expectant face was so full of excitement, and hope, and I could not say no.

The kids piled into a trailer attached to my husband's bike while I went out to practice. One leg, two legs, BRAKE. Over and over I did this until suddenly I just let go. I am not sure why or when this happened, I only know that it did, and when I released my legs I let go of my fears, letting them float away off the lagoon and back to the shores from whence they came. Biking felt good. I did a mile and change, my daughter yelling from the trailer, "You're doing it Mommy. You're doing it. Good job!" My son gave an appreciative wail of support. We had a great time, and when I came back I was feeling content and upbeat. And thirsty. Which is when I made my favorite lemonade.

This is a great drink for summer days and nights, when you are tired from the heat but still wish the day wouldn't end. It can be easily perked up with a few frozen strawberries or some ice cold vodka. Or both, whatever works for you. The secret is simple syrup, a combination of equal parts hot water with sugar. It forces the sugar to dissolve, and allows the sweetness to travel evenly throughout the pitcher.

I drank my lemonade for one, enjoying a few moments of solitude and a little personal pride. It is sweet but sour, cold yet warm from the citrus. The thin circles of lemon reminded me of my bicycle wheels, and it was the perfect way to celebrate my little triumph. Enjoy every sip.

Serves 4

4 cups of water, plus 1/2 cup
1/2 cup sugar
Juice from 3 lemons

  1. Pour 4 cups of water into a pitcher with ice. Set aside.
  2. Heat 1/2 cup of water to boil. Add and dissolve sugar. Stir mixture into pitcher.
  3. Add lemon juice to the pitcher. Serve.

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