New York City is a terrible place to summer. Whereas some water-bound towns have cool breezes rolling in off the ocean all day, we can better rely on the hot exhale of garbage trucks. Offices are set to roughly the same temperature as a polar ice cap, but subway platforms are so unfathomably sweltering that on my first day in NYC 14 years ago, I — adorably, like the wee baby New Yorker I was — uttered the words, “Is this even legal?” It’s a rare day that you don’t walk down the sidewalk and have a window a/c unit drip you-don’t-want-to-know run-off on your head. Flip-flops may cool your feet outside, but you may never recover from seeing the new color of your toes at the end of a day, and it always seems like everyone but me has Summer Fridays. The city tries, it really does, to make things more livable: the 14 beaches are free, there are dozens and dozens of free public pools, something like a zillion sprinkler parks, and you know all those endless photos you see of children frolicking in spraying fire hydrants? Hardly a symbol urban decay, it’s actually legal and encouraged. But the fact is that from July 4th on (and possibly earlier this year), anyone that has the means to be elsewhere is, and the rest of us plebes schvitz it out on the pavement.
And this summer, we’re going to do it grandly. We are going to embrace the heat. We are going to pretend we are someplace tropical and glamorous. Our summer house awaits… uh, in the blender.
My editor went to Colombia in March and came back ecstatic that she’d found the MOST DELICIOUS BEVERAGE EVER (all caps, even, from an editor so you know it was major), limonada de coco, which is essentially coconut milk, lime juice, sugar and ice ground together into what I’d probably call coconut limeade slushie but sounds, like most things, much more glamorous in Spanish. And yes, you can put rum in it too. But we did not. My son decided one hour into yesterday’s 90 degree morning yesterday that he’d had eee-nufff of the heat and of having an Ace bandage on his sprained ankle and no, he would not, could not, stop yelling. I hear you, kid, I really do. And so we decided that only a South American brain freeze would make things better and look, I don’t mean to oversell them, I don’t, but you must believe me when I tell you: this drink solves everything. It will make the stickiest weather seem bearable, it will make you feel like you’re on vacation when you’re not, and it will make you wish sandal season were longer, if only it meant you could have one of these a day.
One year ago: Espresso Granita with Whipped Cream
Two years ago: Cold Rice Noodles with Peanut-Lime Chicken
Three years ago: Linguine with Pea Pesto
Four years ago: Chocolate Doughnut Holes
Five years ago: Spanikopita Triangles + Then Some
Six years ago: Pizza with Red and Yellow Peppers
Seven years ago: Strawberry Tart
Frozen Coconut Limeade [Limonada de Coco]
I understand this to be mostly a Northern Colombian drink, though I’d be happy to go investigate this in person if it is necessary to maintain the quality editorial on this site. Which it is, right? Right?
This drink is as tart as a good glass of lemonade and as refreshing as a slushie with the decadence of a milkshake. It’s barely sweet, simple as written and, I imagine, endlessly tweakable with whatever sounds good to you. I don’t think it would be unwelcome with mango or pineapple chunks blended in. I bet you could use canned cream of coconut (the sweet stuff) or sweetened condensed milk as a sweetener instead of sugar. You could add cinnamon or nutmeg on top, Caribbean-style. You could add white rum, grownup-style. You could make it sweeter, kid-style. But we had it just like this, and we’re going to do it again all summer.
Yield: 3 cups (we divided into 4 8-ounce glasses)
2 1/2 cups crushed or small ice cubes
1 cup coconut milk, well-shaken if from a can
1/3 cup lime juice (from about 3 limes)
3 tablespoons granulated or superfine sugar (more or less to taste)
Lime slices for garnish
Blend every thing until it reaches your desired consistency — almost smooth, for a crunchier effect, or fully smooth, for a milkshake/creamier effect. Pour into glasses, garnish with lime and don’t forget to share.