Thursday, September 09, 2010


I apologize: To do full justice to the magic of magic juice, the above photograph should have been taken on a sunny porch, not in my dark apartment kitchen. The first time I made this recipe, I drank it from a thermos while lounging on a picnic blanket on the grass at twilight listening to an outdoor concert, and it was perfect, because magic juice is like summer in a glass. But I didn’t have my camera with me, so I mixed up another batch one night at home. I’m pleased to report that it was just as delicious indoors, if not so photogenic, so there’s no need to wait for a special occasion to make this drink. Any Tuesday evening will do.

The recipe is from Design*Sponge, where you can see much prettier pictures than mine. As soon as I saw it, I knew I had to try it. I adore gin, but I don’t often make drinks at home—in fact, adding gin to ginger ale is about the limit of my mixology, and I’m much more apt to open a bottle of beer instead. Summertime, however, always makes me long for cool evening cocktails, so I was glad to be able to feed that yearning for once. The recipe is a little too resource-intensive for my everyday life—if you make a double recipe, which I highly recommend if you’re drinking with a friend because you’ll crave another drink once you’ve finished your first, you’ll need to have nearly a pint of strawberries, two oranges, half a cucumber, and a whole bunch of mint on hand—but is so irresistibly refreshing, fruity without being sickeningly sweet, I know I’ll be making it periodically from now on. The gin flavor isn’t overwhelming, so even if you’re one of those crazy people who doesn’t care for gin, you should still give this a try.

A few recipe notes: I don’t own a muddler (see above re: not making drinks at home), so I used a meat tenderizer mallet to crush the fruit and bruise the mint, which worked well enough for me—as far as I’m concerned, the more juice that gets into this drink, the better. I used Hendricks gin, which is my fave and works especially well here because of its cucumber undertones. Fresh lemonade was called for, but I wussed out and used Trader Joe’s brand (a staple in our refrigerator) and it tasted plenty good. The first time around, I even skipped the ice, since we were bringing it to a picnic—I just poured the magic juice into two water bottles and chilled them in the fridge for half an hour or so before packing them up.

6 strawberries, hulled and diced
1 orange, peeled and diced
¼ of a large cucumber, peeled and diced
5–7 mint leaves
4–6 ounces gin (I recommend Hendricks)
8 ounces lemonade (ideally fresh, but I used Trader Joe’s)

1. Muddle strawberries, orange, cucumber, and mint. Pour gin into mixture and let sit for 10–15 minutes.
2. Strain over lemonade and ice. Garnish with a fruit slice or mint leaf, if desired.

Serves: 2
Time: 20 minutes
Leftover potential: None

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