Happy Easter, everyone. I know it’s technically spring, and many of you are just waking to the season’s first blossoms, the mercury’s first climb toward warmer temps. But here in Vientiane, it’s summer through and through. It’s an Easter skillet—and we’re frying in the middle of it. By 9 a.m. the sun’s too strong to face. A walk around the block makes the body a salt lick. The only reasonable action: drink another lime juice (as I am right now at Joma). Call it nam manao, nuoc chanh da or tuk kro’chma—it’s Southeast Asia’s answer to lemonade, made with little limes. I’ve been loving the stuff ever since my long-ago semester in Hanoi. I remember that first broiling afternoon, and my introduction to Co Phuong, who ran the drink shop on the ground floor of the Ministry of Education Hotel (my four-month home away from home). She served me that first sugary glass of fresh lime over ice, and thereby taught me the key to battling intense tropical heat.
Lately, I’m finding more and more Asian menus offering lime juice (or lime freezies) blended with mint—so much mint, the drink comes speckled with garden green dots and a big, fresh sprig at the top. Brilliant. It’s so simple, such an obvious thing—yet I’m not sure I’ve ever served this to friends back home on a hot summer day. Rest assured, you will find this drink at the Redcoates hacienda, come June!
Even if your Easter is battered with wicked spring winds (or, heaven forbid, snow), tuck this one away for a sunnier day. When the flowers bloom, the birds sing and you prepare for summer’s first barbecue, remember to quench your guests’ thirst with this:
*fresh squeezed lime
*sugar to taste
*a bunch of mint
Simply blend and enjoy—and embellish, if you like. A little gin? Vodka? Perhaps rum? Or SAKE!