Did I ever tell you I grew up in the carnival? Yes, it’s true, I am a third generation carnie. But a few things set me apart like an education and having all of my teeth. My grandfather started AJ Sunny Amusements in 1956 and the business was later taken over by my father and aunt. I began working the midway at the age of nine doing small things like sorting money or making lemonade. However most of my time was spent taking advantage of living the life every child dreams of which consisted of eating French fries and cotton candy for lunch and cutting in line to pick whatever seat I wanted on one of our psychedelically painted rides.
We’ve all had the ubiquitous frothy lemonade shake-up in the large, waxed paper cup that we must hold two-handed for fear the bottom may drop out (tragic!). We’ve watched a carnie (maybe even me) shake this refreshing summer beverage with enthusiastic vigor.
My palate has diversified since my steady diet of sno cones and funnel cakes and living in Fiji has helped that considerably. With my carnival days behind me and being a Peace Corps volunteer my current chosen profession, I’m going to be honest….. it can be really challenging. The harassment, unreliable public transportation, harassment on the unreliable transportation….. sometimes when I get home on a sweaty Friday afternoon a nice cool drink (with vodka) is critical to maintaining sanity while enduring third world living. However, on this occasion I will have to gracefully decline for 2 reasons: 1. I am on a volunteer budget and 2. I’m not even sure if the local vodka here is meant for human consumption.
It is citrus season in Fiji now. There are at least eight types of citrus I can think of but I’m sure there are more I have yet to discover. Small, sweet n sour kumquats, meyer-like lemons, traditional limes, candy sweet mandarins and the list goes on and on. A few are eaten out of hand but most commonly they are used to make juice.
I was missing the tangy taste of a grapefruit and lucky for me I came across the Fiji version of just that. They are MASSIVE and can weigh 3-4 lbs. I picked a hefty one, squeezed the bloody hell out of it & shook it like a Polaroid picture. This drink is a refreshing deviant from the norm and is so vibrant in its flavor that it could pull you out of a cotton candy coma.
Lets get real, this beverage would be award winning with a heavy splash of vodka (or gin). Pair this drink with some caramel apples and Italian sausages and you’ve got a carnie party to attend.
1 1/2 cups fresh squeezed grapefruit juice
4 tbsp Sugar
4 tbsp boiling water
Make a simple syrup by adding boiling water and sugar together stirring to dissolve sugar completely.
Juice grapefruit and strain to remove any excess seeds and pulp. Making one at a time, in a pint glass add half the grapefruit juice to half of the syrup, fill glass with ice and pour 8 oz. of water over top. Cover the pint glass with either a plastic cup or traditional lemonade paper cup that fits snuggly over the lip. Shake vigorously for 1 minute until it well combined and frothy. Serve in either pint glass or paper cup. Garnish with a grapefruit wedge if desired.