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A MATTER OF TASTE  Thursday, August 20, 2009

Water. It’s a simple, nourishing beverage that we use everyday for drinking on its own. Years ago, my husband had a furniture-size water tank. I quickly ruled it out after we had children for fear of constantly mopping up spills—those buttons are way too tempting for little fingers. The problem is regular filtered water pitchers had to jockey for space in the very full fridge of a professional cook. The CleanWater Countertop Filtration system solved my dilemma. It ensures clean, fresh tasting water and freed up much needed space in the refrigerator.

I’ve also learned the type of water I use in recipes really does affect the final product. For boiling large pots of water to make pasta or mashed potatoes the stuff from the faucet is fine here in NYC. When it comes to making fresh lemonade and ice cubes—it’s a different story. Filtered water provides a cleaner flavor, and makes nice, clear ice cubes that won’t alter the taste of my cocktails and drinks as they melt. Oh, and there’s no need to chill water-based drinks before serving—the countertop system has a cold water dispenser. Since summer drink season is getting into full swing, here’s a recipe for something every well-stocked bar needs: simple syrup. Use it to sweeten lemonades, iced tea or coffee and even make your own lime sour mix for margaritas.

Simple Syrup
As easy as it sounds, this recipe is just equal parts water and sugar, so you can make or less if you remember your fractions from elementary school.
Makes about 1 1/2 cups

1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup water

Combine ingredients in a microwave-safe measuring cup. Cook on HIGH for 4 minutes*, or until sugar is completely dissolved. Stir, then let cool completely before using. Store in a tightly covered container in the refrigerator for up to two months.

*based on a 1000-watt microwave

Summer Citrusade
Makes 8 cups

2 cups freshly squeezed mix of orange, lemon and lime juice
6 cups cold filtered water
simple syrup, to taste

  1. Prepare the freshly squeezed juice using the citrus juicer attachment on your Cuisinart Stand Mixer.
  2. Combine juice and water in a large pitcher. Add simple syrup, to taste, and stir well. Chill until ready to serve.