This recipe is adapted from Sarah Copeland's forthcoming book, "Feast" (Chronicle Books).It's a little tricky to describe a drink as "addictive" without giving people the wrong idea (it can be spiked with a splash of gin if you like). But this sparkling, restorative cooler is just what we crave after the heavy foods of winter. Its allure and backbone come from sorrel, an herb renowned for its fresh, lemony sourness. The leaves also lend a high note to salads. And when sauteed in butter, they cook down into a flavorful puddle -- in other words, an instant sauce for seafood or poached eggs.
Lillet Rose, a fortified-wine blend of Sauvignon Blanc and Muscatel, has the aroma of flowers and ripe berries -- perfect for a springtime aperitif. Garnishing the drinks with edible flowers is a lovely touch.
Ruby Red grapefruit juice and Bellocq's White Nixon tea blend, which includes white tea and lavender, make this vodka cocktail bright and refreshing. Serve it over ice, garnished with fresh grapefruit peel and store-bought candied clementines.
Coming soon to a market near you: sweet-tart raspberries. Use the fruit as the base for an aromatic syrup, and combine with seltzer for a refreshing sip. A few tablespoons of the mixture also enlivens white wine, vodka, and iced or hot tea. Make a double or triple batch to keep in the refrigerator. It will last for up to a week.
These fruit coolers are essentially a grown-up (and far healthier) version of the sticky, sweet fruit slushes of childhood. There are so many juices and nectars available; experiment with different combinations.
Chamomile and lemon-flavored herbs create a delicate, delightful tea. We used lemon verbena, which lends a pleasantly sweet flavor. But you can also substitute lemon balm, lemon thyme, lemon basil, or lemon-scented geranium for equally tasty variations to this light, soothing blend.