July 2020: I can’t believe we’ve already made it through half of 2020! Summer made its debut quickly, after one of the most beautiful spring seasons we’ve ever seen. Realistically, I probably just noticed it more this year because I’ve been home instead of traveling. Nevertheless, I did my spring cleaning, wrote an e-book cookbook, and created a podcast where I chat about my travels and love for food.
My best friend, Andrea, is my frequent co-host on the podcast. We met 18 years ago at a tennis drill when she walked on the court wearing her walkman headphones and Ray-ban sunglasses. She had long legs and a great backhand. I thought she was the coolest person I’d ever seen. A few months later, our team went to “tennis camp” in south Texas, and Andrea was assigned as my roommate. She brought a six-pack of beer and a German travel guide. She was planning a trip with her mother to Germany that summer, which gave us something to talk about. I had been to Germany a couple of times, and when I started making suggestions for her trip, I slowly gained some credibility. I recall very little about the tennis training we did at camp, but our evenings were the most memorable. Our tennis coaches served us dinner and cranked up the music with karaoke microphones. Once again, Andrea was the star. She knew the words to every 70s and 80s song on the playlist, and she had the moves to go with them. Since we were roommates, she was kind enough to share the spotlight by letting me sing with her. It was the beginning of our friendship.
Since that first trip, we have traveled together at least once a year, usually with our friend, Kim. We plan every meal as if it’s our last, and we never miss an opportunity to put a few dollars in the slot machine, promising to share the winnings, which rarely happens. As we’ve gotten older, we go to bed earlier despite our intentions to stay out late. We spend at least an hour deciding on a movie to rent in our hotel room, and inevitably, Andrea and I are asleep 30 minutes into it, while Kim watches until the end.
On my podcast, Dish It Out With Shannon Smith, Andrea and I talk about our friendship, family vacations and adventures around the world. I describe the food I’ve learned in my travels, and sometimes I cook special dishes for Andrea to try before we start recording. Find my podcast on Spotify, Google Play and Apple Podcast. And to make it more enjoyable, make my tarragon lemonade while you’re listening. Andrea and I think it makes everything more enjoyable!
Sparkling Lemonade with Gin and Tarragon - Makes 4-6 Servings
This is one of the most refreshing drinks for the summer! Lemons and tarragon are a great combination, and they pair beautifully with the gin and elderflower liqueur. I’ve made this cocktail in batches to serve at brunch and pool parties. If you want to keep it in the fridge, leave out the club soda until you’re ready to serve.
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup water
8 sprigs of tarragon
2 lemons, thinly sliced
3/4 cup gin
3/4 cup St. Germain (elderflower liqueur)
1/2 cup fresh lemon juice
12 ounces Club Soda
Combine the sugar and water in a small saucepan and place over medium-high heat. Bring to a low simmer and stir until sugar is melted. Let cool. Meanwhile, put the tarragon, lemons slices, gin, St. Germain, and lemon juice into a pitcher. Stir in the sugar syrup and club soda. Serve with a lemon slice.
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