June 23, 2017By Brittnee Taylor Newman
What are you up to this weekend? Pool time? Beach time? Grill time? It’s officially summer now, so hopefully all three.
Whatever you’re doing, the subtitle missing from your weekend itinerary is most definitely: “Doing ___, while sipping a sweet, smoky, lemon-y summer cocktail.” Let’s fix that, shall we?
This lovely little libation was birthed out of my current obsession with grilling, but specifically with grilling lemons. It’s a spin on the lemon drop shot we all took in college, but bubbly and light and perfect for humid days and nights.
Y’all. When you are an extrovert who works from home, you diiiieeee to get outside. To smell fresh air, sunscreen, and chlorine. And to chat with the neighbors. Or even just eavesdrop on gossip at the pool. That’s not creepy, right? I don’t care. This is where we’re at now, folks. We’re at creepy.
So lately I’ve been talking #YankeeBeau into grilling as often as he’ll agree to it. His condo building has a big park, so we tote down as much as we can carry and take over a row of picnic tables: music speakers, pre-made appetizers, Yetis full of ice water, the dog. And usually something grown-up to sip on.
Our friends at Dixie Southern Vodka were kind enough to supply the booze for this recipe. Grain and Barrel Spirits saw the need for an authentic craft southern vodka, so they quickly set out to make distill something “by Southerners and for Southerners.” It paired perfectly with grilled lemon juice and agave nectar, topped off with cold, fizzy Pellegrino and a sweet-and-sour sugar rim.
Also, aren’t these backyard bamboo glasses the cutest for summer? I got a set of 6 for less than $20!
In case you have not hopped aboard the charred lemon train yet, grilling them somehow manages to make the juice both sweeter and smoky at the same time, but not in an overpowering way. And it’s easy as pie: slice them in half, lay them sliced-side down for 3-5 minutes (depending on how high your heat is) until charred. They’re perfect in a cocktail, or squeezed on top of chicken kabobs and grilled veggies.
Grilled Lemon Drop Cocktail Recipe
Makes 2 servings
Plated sugar for sugar rim
1 tablespoon lemon zest
4 lemons, halved and grilled
2 tablespoons agave nectar
2 ounces chilled Dixie Vodka
1 bottle chilled Pellegrino
Before grilling your lemons, grate one tablespoon of zest into a cocktail shaker filled with ice.
Grill lemon halves 3-5 minutes, then allow them to cool for about 10 minutes. Once cool, run the grilled flesh of the lemon around the rim of your glass, and dip the rim of your glass into the sugar to make your sugar rim.
Hand-squeeze the grilled lemons into your cocktail shaker; the skin will be a bit “crispy” and the flesh inside will be soft, so it will take very little effort to squeeze all of the juice out.
Add agave nectar and shake. Drop fresh ice into your sugar-rimmed glasses, and pour lemon drop mixture into glass. Top with chilled, bubbly Pellegrino. Cheers!