If you’re anything like me (you’re probably not), you spend countless afternoons daydreaming about the perfect picnic. I mean, countless: if you could tally the number of picnic baskets, all-terrain blankets, and rustic wooden serving boards I’ve ogled in my day, then you’d be like, “Woah. That’s a big number! You really do love picnics” and I’d be like, “Told you so.”
I haven’t examined the impulse closely, but I think this minor obsession may relate to one of my favorite paintings of all-time, “A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte” by Georges Seurat. Again, if you’re anything like me (again—you’re probably not), you’re always on the prowl for an excuse to put on your top hat and take your dog to the park. Throw in a festive parasol and some dated period clothing, and you’ve just described how I want to spend every Sunday afternoon until the end of time (or at the very least the end of lunch).
Well, no picnic is complete without the perfect cocktail. Champagne will always do in a pinch (but don’t you dare pinch me—I will see red), and I’ll never turn down a chilled glass of bubbles. But if you want something bright, fresh, and beautiful, this might be more your speed. I personally love blueberry lemonades for outdoor gatherings because you can freeze half of the lemonade the night before, pour the rest of the cocktail over, and let it slowly thaw as you head to your picnic destination. No ice, no problem. I use glass stoppered bottles that I’ve accumulated over the years, but any ole bottle will do—it helps if they’re clear, though, so that you can achieve the visual.
Gather yon ingredients, ye outdoor party girls or weird painting cosplayers: fill your baskets with these lemonades and some pressed sandwiches before heading to the park . . . the beach . . . your backyard . . . hell, even the steps of the Art Institute of Chicago.
And be sure to say hi to George for me.
- 5 oz lemonade (recipe below)
- 1 ½ oz Stolichnaya Blueberry Vodka
- ½ oz limoncello
- 1 oz blueberry simple syrup (recipe below)
- 2 squeezes fresh lemon juice
- Mix together and stir; pour over ice, or over the frozen portion of lemonade.
- 1 cup lemon juice
- 5 cups water
- ½ cup sugar
- Mix together and stir.
- 1 cup fresh or frozen blueberries
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 cup water
- 1 tbsp lemon juice
- Place all ingredients in a heavy-bottomed sauce pan and bring to a boil over medium-high heat.
- Once boiling, reduce the heat and keep the mixture simmering until blueberries have burst.
- Strain the blueberry syrup over a sieve into a bowl.