In our rush to overschedule our lives, it's easy to overlook some of the simple summer traditions that make this season so wonderful.
When I was a child, twice a week my parents and I would load the car with 10-gallon glass bottles. The bottles and I would bounce around the back seat (Seatbelts? What seatbelts?) as we headed to the nearby Merrimack River. There, just across the street from the water, was an ice cream shop that also sold spring water from a tap outside its back door.
There was always a crowd -- lines for the water, lines for the ice cream. Big old classic banana boats. Frappes topped with whipped cream and plastic toy soldiers with "real" parachutes.
But I never got ice cream of any kind. Nor did my parents. Nor plenty of other people.
Back then, Heritage Farm Ice Cream (named for Heritage State Park that ran along the river in front of it) was known for its lime rickeys -- ice cold sweet-sour drinks that bear only a casual resemblance to the boozy cocktail with which they share a name.
Heavy hits of lime juice and sugar mixed with crushed ice and seltzer water so heavily carbonated the bubbles would come up the straw. It was pure summer.
My parents usually got the straight up lime rickey. I preferred the even tangier raspberry-lime rickey.
Then I grew up and forgot about them. But this summer, while shuttling my son between karate and summer camp and park outings, I remembered. And I decided it was time to restart the tradition. Minus, that is, the bouncing around in the back seat with 10-gallon bottles of water.
>Classic Raspberry-Lime Rickey
1 cup sugar
1/3 cup water
1 teaspoon raspberry extract
In a small saucepan over medium heat, combine the sugar and 1/3 cup water. Bring to a simmer, stirring just until the sugar has fully dissolved, about 3 minutes. Remove from the heat and let cool for a minute or two. Stir in the raspberry extract.
Fill 3 large glasses with ice. Squeeze the juice of 2 limes into each glass. Add 1/3 cup of the sugar syrup, then fill the glasses with seltzer water. Stir well.
1/2 cup frozen strawberries in sugar, thawed
1/4 cup lemon juice
2 tablespoons sugar
Club soda or seltzer water
Fresh strawberry, to garnish
In a blender, combine the strawberries, lemon juice and sugar. Blend until smooth. Pour into a high-ball glass filled with ice, then top with club soda or seltzer water and stir gently. Garnish with the strawberry.