They say that when life gives you lemons, you should make lemonade. They clearly have no clue what else is in the pantry. Maybe you have water and sugar, maybe you don’t. Some folks have butter, sugar and eggs, but you don’t see anyone telling them to make Lemon Curd. I tend to lean more toward the Cave Johnson school of gifted lemon management, but that can be less than practical. No one gave me any lemons today, but I was sent a recipe, so I went all bootstrappy and bought my own lemons, in order to make a drink for you. So in the spirit of dealing with unsolicited lemons, which I assure you is way less of an issue than the adage would imply, won’t you please join me now as we stand and make, the Lemon Bar.
Seriously, is this problem that you folks are having? I only recall having been gifted lemons twice in my life and I was suitably appreciative both times. The first time, it was the little lagniappe from my bayou adventure and I ended up using them to make my Grandma’s lemon meringue pie. More recently, I used gifted lemons to make a Syllabub and to add flavor to some grilled salmon. It was not a problem. I have got to be honest, I never once stopped to think to myself, “what am I going to do with these lemons?” and it did not cross my mind on either occasion to make lemonade. I mean, while relatively rare, gift lemons are no hardship. People telling you to buck up and make the best of a bad situation though, we always have way too much of that. If the figurative lemons are bad times, how about we just do our best to quit giving them to people? That sounds way better, kinder and smarter than trying to figure out what the metaphorical sugar and water would be on a case by case basis. So instead of giving you clouds and acting like it is your responsibility to find the silver lining, how about I just make the drink?
This one has a special ingredient, so let’s make some Vanilla Allspice syrup, before we get started. It’s super easy, heat up 1 cup of water with 1 cup of sugar and when it gets near to the boil, add 1 ounce of vanilla extract, I use Bell Buckle Country Store Pure Madagascar and 1 teaspoon of allspice. Once it boils set to the side and let steep for 20 minutes or so and strain through a coffee filter into a jar. It is good for a couple of weeks in the fridge, if you squeeze one of those unsolicited lemons in there you can extend the time, that’s how citric acid works with sugar. Now that you have your syrup, grab your tins and pop in 2 ounces of vodka, I used Monkey Head; 3/4 of an ounce of your vanilla allspice syrup, 3/4 of an ounce of fresh squeezed lemon juice and 3/4 of an ounce of egg white or aquafaba. Add ice and give it a good shake to the beat of “Hold Up” by Beyonce, see what I did there? When your tins get good and cold, strain from one tin to the other, toss the ice, reseal and go for a hearty dry shake. When you feel good about it, open pour into something chilled and beautiful. Let that foam rise and garnish with some allspice dust and lemon zest.
Well, that’s just fine. Nice and creamy. Poorly named, cause we don’t do allspice in our lemon bars, but I get where they are coming from. It is nice enough, not terribly complex, but straightforward and pleasant, kind of like a lemon bar, so maybe the name is apt in effect if not in flavor. What can I say, when life gives you lemons…
How about when life gives you lemons, just say thanks. It doesn’t cost much to be grateful or at least gracious. Now that is something we could us a lot more of, grace. Simple, courteous goodwill, shared without thought of merit. That beats the hell out of lemons and unlike citrus, goodwill and grace multiply when you share them. It’s part of that whole world reflecting back what you give it thing. Sure it doesn’t always work, but that’s on those lemon sucking sourpusses who can’t be bothered to give as good as they got. We can be better than that, maybe we should try. Or we could burn down their houses…with the lemons. Stay safe, stay hydrated and stay sane, my friends.