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Quarantinis help you chill

Recipe: This variation of a Lemon Drop features homegrown citrus

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Cocktails for two! Meyer lemon flavors these Quarantinis. (Photos: Debbie Arrington)

Cocktail hour is making a comeback; as they say, it's always 5 o'clock somewhere when you're locked down.

Of course, now our cocktail chitchat is via Zoom and not in person. But the drinks still have the same buzz.

Cocktails take a little extra time for preparation -- extra time is one ingredient we have handy.

But what else is on hand as we self-quarantine? Many cocktail recipes call for unusual ingredients and a well-stocked liquor cabinet (or trip to the store). For a Quarantini, use what you've got and keep it simple.

This variation on a Lemon Drop martini relies on fresh citrus for its pop, honey syrup for its sweet smoothness.
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For Quarantini, sweet-tart Meyer lemons, fresh and juicy.

I've got Meyer lemons in my backyard, and this drink shows off their juicy flavor. But this drink would also work with Eureka or other lemons as well as limes, oranges, tangerines or grapefruit.

Honey syrup is easy to make; it's a step that requires a little pre-planning (but not much). Orange blossom honey (which is not that sweet) adds another citrus note.

Pre-chilling the glasses and using a cocktail shaker add some flair to the process and improve the final outcome But in a pinch, a quart jar with a lid will do as a substitute shaker. If using gin, be gentler and stir instead of shake. Either way, the results will help you chill.

Quarantinis
Makes 4 servings

Ingredients:

Juice of one lemon, preferably Meyer (about 1/4 cup juice)
1/4 cup honey syrup
3/4 cup (6 ounces) vodka or gin
Ice
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A lemon peel garnish finishes off the
Quarantini cocktail.
Lemon peel (for garnish)

Instructions:

Ice 4 martini glasses. Put them in the refrigerator (preferably the freezer) until ready for use.
With a sharp paring knife, cut off a few strips of lemon peel before cutting lemon in half.

Pack a martini shaker with ice. (If no shaker, use a 1-quart jar with lid.)

Squeeze lemon juice over ice. Add honey syrup and vodka or gin. Put top on shaker (or jar) and shake 12 times.

Strain drink into glasses. (Store extra drink on ice in the shaker/jar in the refrigerator until using.)

Serve well chilled, with twist of lemon peel.

To make honey syrup: In a small saucepan over medium heat, combine 1/4 cup sugar, 1/4 cup water and 2 tablespoons orange blossom or similar honey. Bring to a boil. Let boil 1 minute while stirring. Remove from heat and cool. Store covered in refrigerator.

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Garden Checklist for week of July 7

Take care of garden chores early in the morning, concentrating on watering. We’re still in survival mode until this heat wave breaks.

* Keep your vegetable garden watered, mulched and weeded. Water before 8 a.m. to conserve moisture.

* Prevent sunburn; provide temporary shade for tomatoes, peppers, eggplant, melons, squash and other crops with “sensitive” skin.

* Hold off on feeding plants until temperatures cool back down to “normal” range. That means daytime highs in the low to mid 90s.

* Don’t let tomatoes wilt or dry out completely. Give tomatoes a deep watering two to three times a week. Harvest vegetables promptly to encourage plants to produce more.

* Squash especially tends to grow rapidly in hot weather. Keep an eye on zucchini.

* Some weeds thrive in hot weather. Whack them before they go to seed.

* Pinch back chrysanthemums for bushy plants and more flowers in September.

* Harvest tomatoes, squash, peppers and eggplant. Prompt picking will help keep plants producing.

* Remove spent flowers from roses, daylilies and other bloomers as they finish flowering.

* Pinch off blooms from basil so the plant will grow more leaves.

* Cut back lavender after flowering to promote a second bloom.

* One good thing about hot days: Most lawns stop growing when temperatures top 95 degrees. Keep mower blades set on high.

* Once the weather cools down a little, it’s not too late to add a splash of color. Plant petunias, snapdragons, zinnias and marigolds.

* After the heat wave, plant corn, pumpkins, radishes, winter squash and sunflowers. Make sure the seeds stay hydrated.

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