I sometimes forget that my youngest brother has spent the past few years engaged in massive amounts of quality time with my parents, sans any buffer siblings (Joe's cavorting around Boston, Mary Clare's sucking the life out of Omaha and I'm still stuck in that long, airless tunnel between the Blue line and the Red line in Chicago). I'm reminded of this fact, however, when he drops unsolicited pieces of insight about their daily lives. Some of it I'm familiar with, but other things come as a surprise. Case in point: Paul remarked that on a fruitless trip to retrieve a jar of salsa from my mom's basement stockpile of food, he'd noticed three orphaned cans of warm Budweiser tossed among jars of peanut butter and boxes of brownie mix. This was followed by the requisite reference to my mom's penchant for drinking half a can of beer (most likely leftover from Mary Clare's '04 high school graduation) and putting the other half back in the refrigerator, gently capped with a small piece of tinfoil. But then, to my pleasant surprise, Paul added, "Mom makes the funniest cocktails in the summertime." What? I've known her to drink an occasional July 4th Bloody Mary, but this foray into bartending intrigued me. What kind of cocktails?
"White wine and Crystal Light."
After this, I died for three minutes before we launched into a speculative tirade on how these came to be and what exactly constituted a Crystal Spritzer, as we lovingly dubbed it in the kitchen of my aunt's house on Easter.
And now, for your mixing pleasure, the exclusive recipe - created by my mother, transcribed by me, (hopefully) enjoyed by drinkers everywhere.
- 1/2 cup Sutter Home Chardonnay or White Zinfandel (based on personal preference)
- 2/3 cup Raspberry Ice Crystal Light
- 2 ice cubes
Open liter bottle of chosen wine to serve guests at holiday gathering of your choice. Leave in refrigerator with cork not entirely intact for two months (cheese-like scent will indicate readiness). Mix pitcher of Crystal Light (doubling suggested water-to-powder ratio). Leave in refrigerator (in open pitcher) for one week. Pour Crystal Light into Styrofoam cup. Add wine and ice cubes. Sip leisurely (best when paired with a copy of Parade Magazine and the burnt edges of a pan of brownies). Leftover contents can be stored for up to three weeks.