As November began to really settle in, complete with the cold days and early nights that Daylight Savings Time brings, I’m beginning to have summer withdrawals. In the midst of college applications, school projects, the start of track season, and homework galore, I long for those carefree, lazy summer afternoons when school was the furthest thing from my mind.
To recapture those blissful days, this post is going to be devoted to a recipe that my grandma and mom created, called the “Ozark Slam.”
Here’s the backstory: my dad’s side of the family all live in the Midwest, and his three uncles, their children, and grandchildren all have lake houses on Table Rock Lake, near Branson, Missouri that they vacation at regularly. As my dad is one of the only cousins that moved from the area, we hardly ever see this side of the family. However, every few summers, we pile into the car and drive for two days to spend a few weeks with them. We rent a house with my grandparents, and we fill our days on the lake swimming, tubing, fishing, water-skiing — basically any way to escape the oppressing heat.
During our first trip to Table Rock, my sister, cousins, and I were all complaining that we never got any fancy drinks during “happy hour” like the adults in the family did. Grandma Abby, the resourceful chef that she is, used the sparse kitchen supplies to create the drink that would go down in history: The Ozark Slam.
The recipe is simple. You combine several peaches, ice, and lemonade in a blender, and then puree it all together until smooth. This smoothie, regardless of the simplicity, tastes like summer on your tongue — the tangy lemonade and the sweet peaches quench your thirst perfectly, and the icy texture is perfect for beating the sweltering heat. Needless to say, it was an instant success.
After the initial creation, the Ozark Slam has become an essential for surviving summer adventures. During our subsequent trips to Table Rock, a fresh batch is prepared before boat rides, trips to the swimming pool, and sitting outside chatting with family. At home, the Slam is made during parties, summer dinners, and whenever my grandparents are visiting, as a tasty kid-friendly drink to serve to all ages. And we often take frozen peaches and make a Slam in the winter, when a taste of summer is the only thing that will get us through until warm temperatures return at last.
The Ozark Slam is what makes summer summer. With one taste, I am instantly reminded of the memories of the Ozarks, from cliff jumping to getting flipped off of a boat, to long car rides with my mom, dad, and sister to loud dinners with 40 relatives I never knew I had. The Slam encompasses it all.
So next time the winter blues are invading, and summer seems unbearably far away, make an Ozark Slam, and raise a toast the fond memories of summertime and family.