All right, America. You only get one birthday (per year). And if all goes well, the weather will be warm and sunny, and highly conducive to enjoying a cold and refreshing sparking beverage.
The Fourth of July is the ultimate BBQ: The same comfort foods, but made a little bit special - know what I mean?
It wouldn't be a BBQ without lemonade, but it would be disrespectful to Messrs. Hancock, Franklin, Adams (both of them) and the other gents (who actually didn't technically sign on July 4th), to serve your normal run-of-the-mill lemonade.
Homemade lemonade is surprisingly easy to make, and infinitely better than the bottled stuff. And, since it's summer and we're all hot and lazy, do yourself a favor and make a huge batch that will last well into July. Adding an herbal flavor that compliments the tart, bright lemon juice is a wonderful way to take the drink from lemonade-stand-worthy to dinner-party-worthy*.
Have a fun and safe 4th, everyone!
Lavender Lemonade Sparkler
From Buttercream Fanatic (2013)
4 cups water
4 lavender tea bags, or a sachet of fresh lavender, roughly chopped (use 2 teabags for a more subtle flavor)
1 cup fresh or bottled lemon juice
1/4 cup Splenda for Baking (feel free to substitute white sugar, honey, or other sweetener - I prefer Splenda for Baking because it is powdered and dissolved very easily in the water)
3 cans seltzer water
*I made these without alcohol, but if you'd like to make a "boozy" version, feel free to add vodka
Bring water to a boil. Steep the tea bags in boiling water (turn off heat) for 10-15 minutes. Stir in Splenda (or other sweetener) until completely dissolved, then stir in lemon juice. Allow to cool completely.
Add approximately 1 cup lavender lemon mixture to approximately 1/2 cup unflavored seltzer (adjust proportions to your preferences; also, this is the point at which you should mix in the vodka, if using) and pour over ice immediately before serving. Garnish with a lemon slice if desired.