In 2015, people were all abuzz over the coffee tonic. By 2016, coffee lemonade was a minor frenzy among people who pay attention to these sorts of things. Has there yet been an official coffee and citrus-based iced beverage declared for Summer 2017? Let's go ahead and say that sparkling limeade cold brew coffee is gonna be your beverage jam for next few months. Let's even call it something like the Electro Lime or Turbo Lime or SparCoLime or some such—that part doesn't matter. The important thing is that you introduce sparkling limeade iced coffee into your body early and frequently while it's disturbingly hot outside.
Sparkling limeade iced coffee is pretty much the sensory opposite of hot car vinyl or a crowded subway car. It is best served spine-tinglingly cold, packs a lovely carbonation-caffeination one-two punch, and makes a strange, beautiful balance of sweet, tart, bitter, chill, sparkle, and bliss. Still hung up on the coffee and citrus thing? Think of it this way: You wouldn't bat an eye at an iced tea and lemonade mash-up, would you? You'd just call that an Arnold Palmer and get on with your day. Limeade is even better than lemonade, iced coffee is better than iced tea. Accept that truth, and give yourself the bliss of an open mind and palate. If an added splash of rum, tequila, or your favorite clear spirit helps get you there, so be it.
While you can just toss your favorite commercial limeade into cold brew and get on with your day, you may find your consumption rate necessitates a batch situation. This method also lets you keep things fresh, fizzy, and a la minute with minimal effort.
Sparkling Limeade Iced Coffee
Simmer sugar, water, and zest together until the mixture thickens, and let it cool to room temperature. Stir in lime juice. Strain and pour this into a lidded jar. Any excess can be stored in the refrigerator for up to a week.
Pour ¼ cup of the lime syrup into a pint glass, then one cup of cold brew coffee. Stir, and add sparkling water, tasting as you go. Add plain ice or frozen limeade that you cleverly crafted from stirring some of the lime syrup with water to taste and pouring into an ice cube tray. Garnish with a lime slice if you're feeling sassy.
Should you care to lighten the mixture, stick with non-dairy milk to avoid curdling.