Watermelon Basil Sweet Tea

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Right now I can’t cook to save my life. It is just not possible. There are those moments in life when the wheels just come off and you free fall Don Draper style off the high rise. That’s where I am. That’s what my life feels like right now. I’ve tried to ‘pretty it up’ and put lip stick on a pig, but at the end of the day, it is still lip stick on a pig. Nothing more. I am a glass half full type of person, however at a certain point you must also allow yourself to be a realist. Call it as you see it. So here we are.

I’d like to tell you a lovely story of days of yore but tonight I am in my untethered state of being. I’ve been in this space for a while. I’ve have a few non-cooking recipes to share, but just haven’t wanted to face my own words. I wasn’t sure where to start this blog post, nor where to end it. On one hand I am grateful for those that I have in my life and their health and happiness (glass half full), but on the other hand I cannot deny that things ‘suck’ (realist). There, I said it. No gory details, just raw emotions.

Friends and family are what get me through the difficult times. They buoy me forward, make me smile and allow me to forget my troubles. This past July 4th I got together with my usual group of friends. My Guy and I have been spending this holiday together with this intimate group since before we were married, before we had kids or pets or homes to look after. Over the years our lives have moved us all into different areas of Northern California, where we can only manage to see each other regularly on Facebook; yet on this day, the 4th of July, we all converge for our annual gathering. And despite the tsunami of events that have befallen me – not just these past two months, but really these past three years- when I am with this group, my troubles melt away with a feverish drip. We talk about our freedom from all responsibilities, make jokes, act like kids and smile until our cheeks hurt.

In honor of the long holiday weekend, I made this refreshing watermelon basil sweet tea. The spiciness of the tea blended with the sweetness of the fruit and the extremely aromatic basil -with its hint of pepper, anise, and mint- gives this beverage a sweet, and savory, element.

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Watermelon Basil Sweet Tea

Ingredients

1 gallon water

1/2 cup sugar

5 packets decaffeinated black tea

3-5 cups diced watermelon

2 springs Thai basil, blended

watermelon wedge for garnish

Directions

In a large pot over high heat, bring the water to a simmer. Add the tea packets and allow to steep for 30 minutes. Remove packets and allow to cool completely.

Using a blender, blend the melon into a puree. Lightly mash the basil leaves on a cutting board with the flat side of a knife, alternatively a mortar and pestle to release the aromatics or add leaves to a blender with a splash of water and puree. This last method will leave more sediment in the tea but also create more depth. Add the puree and basil to the tea an mix well. Serve with a lot of ice and garnish each glass with a wedge a melon or a spring of basil.

Note: To make this drink more adult, add a shot of tequila, vodka or gin to the glass.

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