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When we went on our road trip this summer we were lucky enough to visit with some friends we haven’t seen in years. You see, we’ve had more dear people come and go from our neck of the woods than I would like to recall. The only upside is that it makes road trips full of stops to small towns and big cities alike to share an evening with people we love, marveling at how our children have grown, sharing meals together, and often a drink or two. Because everyone needs a little alcohol at the end of an 8 hour drive.

Bourbon is the beverage of choice in the south, or at least amongst our friends. I adapted this recipe from Smitten Kitchen adding more lemon juice, mint tea, seltzer for some fizz, and sugar on the rim for sweetness. We drank this cocktail with some of our oldest friends on a mountain in Georgia, gathered together on their front porch, shooting the breeze, and making up for lost time.

Georgia Bourbon Punch

Adapted from Smitten Kitchen

1 cup of water
2 tea bags (we used 1 black tea bag and 1 mint tea bag, use whatever you fancy)
1/4 cup granulated sugar + 1/2 cup for glass rims

1 cup of bouron
1 1/2 cups orange juice (about 3-4 oranges)
1/2 cup lemon juice plus a little extra for the glass rims (fresh squeezed is best)
5 cups of ice

Splash of seltzer
Mint sprigs to garnish

Boil 1 cup water for tea. Add the tea bags and let steep for several minutes. Add sugar to make a tea simple syrup.

Add bourbon, orange juice and lemon juice and refrigerate until needed. .

To serve: Prepare the glasses by pouring the extra lemon juice and about 1/2 cup of sugar into two separate shallow bowls. Dip the rim of the glass in the lemon juice and then dip it into the sugar. Pour the punch and ice into a blender and whirl away until frosty and perfect. Add a couple ice cubes to each glass, pour punch over, add a little seltzer, top with mint garnish, and you have yourself one delicious cocktail.

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Last weekend we found ourselves in the woods of Vermont with some of our dearest friends. The drive through the mountains as the fog settled into the low places was nothing short of breathtaking. Once off the highway we made our way down a dirt road, over a river, up a hill, and parked ourselves lakeside for 2 nights of “roughing it” in the woods. We were rained on, the children cried, tents leaked, there was an unusual amount of daddy long legs but the good memories far outweighed the bad, if you could even call them that.
There was laughter around the fire, a late night swim in the lake, pancakes for breakfast, maple ice cream, happy children who played until they passed out, and the slow pace that calms busy lives. It’s our second year camping at this lake and I feel a tradition coming on, many more years of moments to be shared and memories to be made.

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