EnlargeCredit: Helen Rosner
New York City this week has been an inferno. We're used to warm summers — 85? Not a problem. 95? Bring it on! — but today the mercury hit 103, and we just may have found our limit. Waves of heat rise from the asphalt, the wind-filled subway stations are like convection ovens, and you could certainly fry an egg on the sidewalk — if you could handle the idea of consuming cooked food, that is. Today is a day for not moving: when summer bombards you with its brutality, fight back by sprawling in front of a fan in your loosest shirt and little else, a popsicle in one hand and a tall glass of Back Porch Tea in the other.
Light-years away from those other cocktails with "tea" in their names, Back Porch Tea is designed to be refreshing: fruit-infused iced tea, slices of whatever fresh fruit you have on hand, and an herbal hit of gin modest enough that you can down glass after glass without straying too far towards oblivion. We made ours with a cranberry-blood orange black tea and slices of white peach, but anything you've got on hand will do. The key is to keep the drink not too sweet: its only sugar should be what it's lent by the slowly macerating fruit.