As a born and raised Midwesterner, I should be accustomed to Chicago summer heat with the steamroller of humidity. Every year I try to get myself in gear for the thick air that greets me when I step outside the front door of our building, but it smacks me straight in the face. It is as if my body has a selective memory forgetting countless Julys and Augusts spent suffering through the oppressive heat and savoring the much-needed relief of occasional mild days.
Since my childhood days spent at summer camp, I can think of no better way for refreshment than a cold glass of lemonade. On a hot Saturday afternoon I made a slightly more sophisticated version of this summer cooler. Sparkling limeade had a distinct citrus persona from that of its more popular lemon sibling. Adding carbonated water gave the limeade a subtle effervescent quality that when combined with the pleasantly sour flavor of lime made for the ultimate refresher.
Makes about 1 liter
1 cup sugar
1 cup water
1 cup lime juice, about 8 limes and zest of 1 lime in strips
2 cups sparkling water
Combine the sugar, water and lime zest in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer until the sugar has fully dissolved. Remove the lime zest and transfer the syrup to a container to cool to room temperature.
Combine the syrup with the lime juice and sparking water. Chill in the refrigerator before serving over ice.