Thanks to a bartender at The Patterson House, I got reinvigorated about summer drinks this weekend. After watching him deliberately measure, muddle and otherwise titrate a few sublime cocktails, I took up the challenge at home with a ginger root and a bag of sugar.
Two cups water, one cup sugar, one thumb of sliced unpeeled ginger. Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer for 10 minutes, then cool and strain.
Now you've got yourself a zesty little syrup to mix with whatever potions and poisons you choose. I stripped the first few mint leaves from the yard and bruised them over some crushed ice. (While making my Whiskey Smash the other night, The Patterson House bartender pressed the leaves ever so gingerly--to extract their essential oils without bringing out their "vegetal" flavor). I added seltzer and lime for a bright spring cooler that invited a splash of vodka or rum--to tide me over until my next trip to The Patterson House.