Ginger-brushed cocktails, like this lemonade, are popular throughout the Caribbean, thanks to Eastern influences. (In fact, fresh ginger limeade and lemonade can be found in India and Japan!) This very refreshing vodka-spiked lemonade, a version of that found in Trinidad and other parts of the Caribbean, can be made with or without the alcohol. If you are making it without alcohol, add about half a cup of the lemonade and an equal amount of club soda. You can also use the lemonade for another luscious drink, the Ginger-Champagne Cocktail.
Yield: Serves 4
16 ounces water
2 inches fresh ginger root, peeled and sliced
1 cup granulated sugar, plus more to taste
6 ounces fresh lemon juice, plus 4 half-moon slices of lemon, for garnish
2 ounces fresh lime juice
8 ounces vodka
Fresh mint leaves and/or sugarcane sticks, for garnish
In a medium saucepan, combine 1 cup of the water with the ginger and sugar, and cook over a medium flame, stirring frequently, until the sugar has dissolved. Let cool to room temperature. Strain into a pitcher. Add the remaining water, lemon juice, and lime juice, and either refrigerate for up to one week, or mix with the vodka for immediate serving.
Fill four glasses with crushed ice. Add 2 ounces of vodka to each glass. Fill three-quarters of the way with the ginger-lemonade mixture. Stir and top with club soda. Garnish and serve.