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Country Summer: The Best Damn🍓Strawberr ...

Country Summer: The Best Damn🍓Strawberry Lemonade🍋

May 15, 2024

I realize I'm a bit late with this week’s recipe update—life has been wonderfully busy lately! A couple of months ago, I started applying for local jobs, and I'm excited to share that I recently landed a part-time, seasonal position with our local Parks & Recreation Department. It’s thrilling to think about getting back into the swing of things outside the home, and the cherry on top? Tom was hired as well, so we’ll be tackling this new adventure together. Just wanted to give you all a quick life update—the sun is shining, and things are definitely looking brighter.

Now, onto the much-anticipated recipe. This week, I'm finally unveiling "Country Summer," a flavor that holds a special place in my heart. It took over ten years to perfect, with about 2.5 years dedicated to crafting the ultimate strawberry lemonade. This wasn’t a continuous effort; it involved numerous trials and iterations, periods of rest, and many restarts fueled by fresh inspirations or new ingredients that seemed promising. Unlike other recipes I’ve set aside over the years—like a grapefruit blend, strawberry kiwi, and even a snickerdoodle—something about this quest for the perfect strawberry lemonade kept me coming back, determined more than ever. It’s my pleasure to share this labor of love with you today.


Exploring the Path to 🍓Country Summer🍋

Throughout the development of "Country Summer," numerous experimental blends laid the groundwork for the final masterpiece. Here’s a glimpse into a few pivotal trials that helped shape this beloved recipe:

Test Flavor: Quench

Lemonade (LA): 10%

Mandarin (FA): 6%

Shisha Strawberry (VT): 6%

Alpine Strawberry (FLV): 1%

Fizz Pop (CAP): 2%

Super Sweet: 0.5%

Discovery: While rummaging through my flavor stash, I sniffed out FA's Mandarin, which surprisingly smelled like it could perfect the sweet base of lemonade I needed. This was a pivotal moment, teaching me to trust my instincts and explore beyond the expected. FA's Mandarin tempered the sharp lemon tones, adding the sweetness and depth I was searching for.

Test Flavor: Home Squeeze

Pineapple Juice (VT): 1.75%

Mandarin (FA): 1.5%

Grapefruit (Medicine Flower - 20% Dilution w/ PG): 1.0%

Alpine Strawberry (FLV): 0.75%

WS-23: 0.25%

Learning: This recipe marked my best attempt at a grapefruit flavor. The old-school DIYers were right; Medicine Flower's Grapefruit was the best on the market, albeit prohibitively expensive and tricky to work with. It came as a strong alcohol-based flavor that I diluted with PG to a workable 20% strength. Even then, at just 1.0%, it was potent but beautifully authentic. I mixed it with Alpine Strawberry to sweeten the bitter notes, hoping to transform it into a juicy, ruby red grapefruit sprinkled with coarse sugar. Although promising, the high cost made me rethink its viability for a wider audience.

Test Flavor: TANPL Redux

Fizzy Strawberry (PUR): 2.0%

Shisha Strawberry (VT): 2.0%

Strawberry Harvest (Jungle Flavors): 1.5%

Mandarin (FA): 1.5%

Summertime Lemonade (WF): 2.0%

Lemon (Flavor's Express): 0.5%

Alpine Strawberry (FLV): 0.25%

Super Sweet (CAP): 0.5%

Reflections: Honestly, I can't remember what TANPL stood for, and I disliked the original so much I deleted it! But, the "Redux" version survived by sheer luck. Frustrated with previous iterations, I kept tweaking, throwing everything I could think of into the mix. PUR's Fizzy Strawberry was a standout, enhancing the Shisha Strawberry with a burst of fresh fruitiness. However, I had to drop WF's Summertime Lemonade because it kept burning out Caliburn pods—a real shame since it tasted so good.


Behold, Country Summer!

After countless experiments and discoveries, Country Summer emerged as a blend that truly captures the essence of a blissful, sunny day. It's named after a yearly country festival that's held here in Sonoma County.

Sourcing Ingredients: Fizzy Strawberry from Purilum has become a rare find since Bull City stopped stocking it. Fortunately, I have a good supply on hand, and I've also discovered a vendor in Canada, as well as European suppliers like NomNomz, who still carry it. Most of the other ingredients should be readily available through Bull City.

Special Offer: If you're looking to try out Fizzy Strawberry, I can help you get it for less than what you might pay at other stores. Just let me know, and I can arrange to send some your way.

Remembering the Launch:

We introduced Country Summer as our mystery flavor during the 4th of July Sale in 2020. It was part of the hype surrounding the Free Caliburn "Freedom" bundles. True to its name, Country Summer was the perfect flavor to celebrate the weekend, embodying the spirit of freedom and festivity.


Parting Flavors: The Bittersweet Release of Country Summer

As I share the recipe for "Country Summer," it's with a heavy heart that I reflect on the approaching anniversary of announcing the shutdown of our beloved brand. This recipe, like many others, was crafted with immense passion and creativity, representing more than just a flavor—it's a piece of my heart, a fragment of a dream I lived every day.

Releasing "Country Summer" to you all is more challenging than I ever anticipated. Each ingredient, each test, and each iteration was a step in a journey that I cherished deeply. As I step away from creating new blends, I find myself missing the thrill of discovery and the joy of sharing new tastes with the world. This isn't just a goodbye to a recipe; it's a farewell to a significant part of my life's work.

Though my path has shifted away from these creations, the memories and experiences we've shared through each flavor will forever be a part of who I am. Thank you for being there, for every puff, every feedback, and every moment that made this journey worthwhile.

-John

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