I'm a big drinker. Always have been. Whatever you put in a glass in front of me, I'll drink it right down and ask for another one. Typically, I'll have finished my glass of water before the waiter has had a chance to get around the table distributing them to my fellow diners. If we don't get a pitcher of water from the waiter, he's gotta make four or five return visits to fill my water before the appetizers arrive. At school, I drink two one-liter bottles of water every day between first and sixth period.
So when Sarah and I started considering ways to lose weight, I thought - hey, I shouldn't drink so much. Often when I come home, I open the fridge, open a beer, drink it, then open another one. I thought - geez, that adds up after a while. So we bought plastic bottles of water (don't get on my case, we refill them from the tap), and now instead of drinking a beer, I drink a water. Much better for my health. I still drink beer, but I don't drink one after the other.
But since I changed my drinking habits, I've been getting strange drink cravings that water just won't satisfy. Yesterday I bought a fruit punch from one of those slushee-style machines at a pizza joint. I asked for a large cup half-full and bought a bottle of water to mix. Then I've been craving Fresca and checking for it at every store we visit. It's harder to find than you think. Usually we don't drink soda, but in the past few days I've had a Jarritos tamarindo, a Good-O redpop and whatever weird tropical soda I can find.
Sarah refuses to buy soda for me because it's unhealthy. This is a good policy, but there are many times I wish I had that button that Lyndon Johnson had installed in the Oval Office, where every time you pushed it, somebody would bring you a Fresca. But then, of course, he used to conduct his cabinet meetings from the toilet, too. Never trust a president from Texas, that's my policy.
But at home, with Sarah's stern refusal to allow soda, my cravings can get me stirred up with no release. But thankfully, we've found an ideal solution. Sarah makes a big batch of her famous mint tea to keep in the fridge. She juices a dozen lemons or so, then steeps a big bunch of mint with Lipton tea bags in boiling water for a few minutes, then adds some sugar and water. This recipe has been in the family for many generations, and we get to use home-grown mint on the farm in the summertime.
This tea can satisfy the meanest drink-craving, and can be modified with the addition of extra water (this is one of my oddball cravings) or even gin or vodka. Although we've only done that when we were doing a series of drink experiments, it turned out great. We don't drink mixed drinks during the week, but this is a great one for parties.
Some notes to remember when you make this recipe are that you need an efficient method of juicing citrus and that the type of mint you use makes a big difference, so you need to sniff before you buy. I don't think I can describe the smell of the right mint in words, though. Give it a shot, and let us know what you think!