Friday favorites 6/17
A beverage-focused roundup featuring iced coffee, kombucha, and a peach-mint lemonade that doubles as a popsicle base
Ya es viernes!1 It’s consistently been over 38°C/100°F this week, so it’s been a hot one. That kind of heat is usually reserved for August weather in Madrid, so I’m hoping this isn’t foreshadowing an even more scorching summer than usual.
This week we’ve been eating a lot of fish and gazpacho, which is pretty typical for us during the hotter months. Because of this, today’s Friday Favorites focuses on something a little different: beverages. Read on below for some of my recent faves.
It’s iced coffee season! I’m usually more of a fan of hot coffee (I may or may not be drinking a mug as I type this, despite the smoldering heat outside), but I do enjoy a tall glass of cold brew or an iced oat milk latte from time to time. Iced coffee is easy to come by in the US, but in Madrid it’s something that is catching on a bit more slowly. I’m surprised by the number of trendy coffee spots that still force you to order an americano con hielo2 instead of true iced coffee or cold brew. I completely understand this in your everyday cafetería de barrio3, but it seems unusual for a more modern spot. With that said, there are some wonderful specialty coffee shops that do offer the icy drink. For my Madrid friends, some of my favorites are Faraday, Café del Art, Nommad, and Clima Cafecito. If anyone in the city wants to drop me a comment on their favorite spot, I’m always looking for suggestions of places to add to my ever-growing list!
I usually guzzle water year-round, but maybe something about the heat is making me branch out because this week I’ve been reaching for kombucha. I used to drink it semi-regularly back in my starry-eyed healthy living blog days (reading them, not writing one), but my consumption has dropped off over the years. Honestly, spending three consecutive weekends traveling and eating out has also made the supposedly probiotic-rich beverage more appealing. The health benefits of kombucha may be questionable, but I also just like the taste. I’ve tried a few different brands here in Madrid, but my favorite by far is Komvida. Pro tip: even though I once heard someone describe kombucha as “sugar water” (and they’re not wrong, seeing as sugar is the second ingredient listed on the bottle I bought recently and is necessary for the fermentation process), I would not recommend going for the sugar-free version. I bought a couple of zero sugar flavors from another brand and ended up having to throw them away because I couldn’t stomach them. Speaking of stomachs, for anyone with a weak one, I would recommend not googling “SCOBY” if you plan on drinking kombucha anytime soon.
Melocotones4 are popping up in our fruit shops, which means it’s time to whip up some peach-mint lemonade! We’ve been making this recipe from Sur La Table for years now and it’s one of my favorite things to serve for a crowd. We usually cut the sugar a bit, but if your lemonade preferences run on the super-sweet side, go ahead and add all. I also recommend going one step further and freezing the lemonade in popsicle molds. If you don’t own actual molds, ice cube trays work perfectly for bite-sized frozen treats. I’ve never tried it myself, but as I’m typing this I’m thinking that if you were to freeze the lemonade in ice cube trays and then give them a quick pulse in a blender, you could end up with a granita-like texture. A project for the weekend!
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A couple of odds and ends:
Our current Sunday Sobremesa topic of foods you used to hate but now love (or at least tolerate) is pinned on the newsletter homepage. You can also access it by clicking here. One of my favorite things about writing this newsletter and being part of the Substack community in general is the discussion that it brings, so I would love to hear from you! So far we have mustard, olives, mushrooms, and avocados on our list.
Unrelated to food, but we’ve been inundated with garden spiders in our house and I’m slightly terrified. It’s one of the few downfalls of having a garden terrace, and I understand that you have to take the bad with the good, but I’m also tired of spiders interrupting the zen of my online yoga classes (how am I supposed to have a quiet mind in savasana when the spider I thought I killed at the beginning of class has apparently unfurled itself and scampered away?!). Please if anyone has any natural repellants that are safe for cats, send them my way.
That’s all for the week! What’s the weather like where you live? Do you have any favorite drinks to help you cool down? Any terrifying spider stories to make me feel better about my life? Let me know in the comments!
Wishing you a fun-filled and spider-free weekend!
Ya es viernes: It’s already Friday
Americano con hielo: (Café) americano with ice. Basically they make an americano and pour it over ice cubes.
Cafetería de barrio: Neighborhood cafe
Melocotones: Peaches. Way back when, I actually learned the term durazno for peach, which is the word in the dialect of Spanish spoken in Latin America. It took me a while to commit melocotón to my memory instead!