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Summer Lime & Lemongrass Cooler

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In August I love to drink fresh lime juice in the evening. If you keep the mixture on the tart side, the zing from the thing is so intense you won’t need to add alcohol. But a drop of rum or vodka never hurt anyone. Here’s my recipe for two:

1 stalk lemongrass*
2 Thai basil leaves
2 mint leaves
1 kaffir lime leaf
1 cup fresh lime juice
1/4 cup super fine sugar (honey also works), or 1/2 cup if you are a lightweight
Lots of crushed or shaved ice
Tonic Water

Cook lemongrass stalk at 300°F for 20 minutes. Cut 2 inches off the stout end of the lemongrass and 1 inch off the slender end. Roughly chop lemongrass.

Put lemongrass, basil, mint, kaffir lime leaf, lime juice, and sugar in blender. Blend. Let sit for 20 minutes or more. Blend again. Mix with 1 cup tonic water, after all the blending. Pour through a fine sieve into a little pitcher. Pour over into cocktail glasses with lots of ice. Have more ice on hand to add while drinking.

*If it’s too much trouble to find lemongrass or if you are too lazy, substitute an inch of fresh ginger, roughly chopped.

Laurie Winer is an editor at the Los Angeles Review of Books.

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