I have been bouncing an idea around in my mind these days. A snapshot of summer. One's perfect equation of infinitesimal, trifling moments that can be summed up into what our minds would dub the perfect summer day.
What does that look like for you?
As I have mulled over these sunny thoughts, I have settled upon the fact that summer looks different to each of us, and the most charming facets of this easy, breezy season are often the most simplistic.
Should life afford me the luxury, every day of summer would begin with iced coffee on the patio and a bit of journaling. Mid-morning trips to the farmer's market for fresh flowers and damp, paper bags of steamed crabs would follow. An afternoon walk with Sabine and Frank Sinatra serenading as I whisk together a batch of my favorite crab cakes for dinner. Then, the Edison string lights go on, a vinyl is tossed on the record player, and Mr. Pedantic and I finally return to the patio for cards with icy cold drinks in hand.
Though not every day can follow that dreamy pattern, some indulgent elements can always be worked into our routines if we are willing to put in a bit of effort.
Yes, I am getting back on my "intentional living" hobby horse and encouraging us all to give ourselves a chance to embrace at least a few of our favorite summer rituals each day.
After the busiest of work days, stepping onto the patio with iced tea and paper straw in hand makes all the difference.
I have always relished a glass of sweet tea with lots of lemon.
In my mother's family, sweet tea (or, "tea-flavored sugar syrup," as my yankee father refers to it), is an essential accompaniment to any summer meal.
This summer, however, I wanted to put my own spin on this longtime family favorite.
It would be easy to underestimate the dreaminess of this iced tea. Sure, stirring in a bit of pineapple juice might not sound overly revolutionary.
However, when that pineapple juice has been reduced down into a thick, caramel-y syrup and stirred into a pitcher of strong black tea spiked with fresh lemon juice, magical things happen.
I drank nearly the entire pitcher of this tea by myself and I have no regrets. It is so incredibly refreshing, and absolutely my go-to drink for this summer.
While I can appreciate the southern sweetness of my family's iced tea, I typically prefer a little less sugar. However, the intense sweetness of our pineapple juice reduction makes up for any lost sugar.
Lots of ice, lemon garnishes, and cute paper straws are nonnegotiable.
Oh, and don't forget the jazz. Nothing provides an escape from a tiring day quite like a bit of Sinatra.
Most of us still have laundry to do and jobs to arrive at during these summer months, but the most wonderful moments of summer are still well within reach.
Here's to making time to embrace the season in the ways our hearts cherish most.
Pineapple Arnold Palmers
makes 2 quarts or eight servings
5 bags quality black tea
4 cups boiling water
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 1/2 cups pineapple juice (not from concentrate)
1/2 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
lemon slices, optional
Place tea bags in a 2-quart pitcher and cover with boiling water. Allow the tea to steep for five minutes, then remove tea bags and stir in granulated sugar.
While the tea cools, prepare the pineapple syrup. Place pineapple juice in a 1.5 quart saucepan and bring to a heavy simmer over medium-high heat. Simmer, stirring every so often, for 10-15 minutes, until the juice has reduced down to 1/2 cup. Remove from heat and allow to cool completely.
Stir the cooled pineapple syrup into the cooled tea and pour in fresh lemon juice. Serve over plenty of ice and garnish with fresh lemon slices.