Heat water in a medium saucepan over medium-low heat. Add sugar and stir until dissolved. Remove from heat and throw in the mint. Cover and let sit about 30 minutes while flavors steep and liquid cools.
Just before guests arrive, fish the mint from the sugar water and discard. Pour the liquid into a punch bowl or other large vessel. Add vodka, pomegranate juice and lime juice. Stir to mix.
To keep the punch cool during the party, set the bowl over a larger bowl of ice, or float a big ice ring (see story) in the punch bowl. Makes 12-14 medium-size servings.
Per serving (based on 14): 293 calories, 0 protein, 28 gm carbohydrates, 0 gm fat, 0 mg cholesterol, 0 gm saturated fat, 6 mg sodium, trace dietary fiber
Don't want to cook? Embrace the onslaught by visiting local bars and restaurants offering cicada-themed specials:
Andale. 401 Seventh St. NW. 202-783-3133. www.andaledc.com. This upscale tequila temple is offering a "Cicadarita" mixed with Herradura Silver Tequila, lime juice, Midori and simple syrup ($7). The greenish beverage is garnished with a wedge of honeydew melon, shaped to resemble a cicada, with two dried cranberries for eyes. While you're bugging out amid the colorful Mexican artwork, snack on the cachuetes enchilados -- spicy Spanish peanuts roasted with chili powder, garlic and salt.
Degrees. 3100 South St. NW. 202-912-4100. Take shelter from the swarm in Georgetown's swanky Ritz-Carlton hotel bar. The velvet-and-leather cocoon is serving up a special cicada cocktail, a blend of Grey Goose L'Orange Vodka, fresh pineapple juice and blue Curacao ($12).
Del Ray Dreamery. 2310 Mount Vernon Ave., Alexandria. 703-683-7767. www.delraydreamery.com. Want something for the kids? At this family-friendly dessert destination, owner Liz Davis is serving a "cicada crunch" frozen custard ($2.50 for a small) as the flavor of the day May 21 and 22 to help customers get in the Brood X groove. The treat blends chocolate custard, crispy rice, chocolate jimmies and red sprinkles, "to represent the cicadas' red eyes," Davis says.
Kramerbooks & Afterwords. 1517 Connecticut Ave. NW. 202-387-1462. www.kramers.com. At this bookstore/eatery, try the sweet and creamy "Cicada" cocktail ($8), a blend of Jack Daniels, amaretto, cream and a pinch of nutmeg, served in an individual shaker and garnished with a candied cicada (which the squeamish can skip). Also for the brave: The cafe plans to serve a special dish of "soft-shelled" cicadas.
© 2004 The Washington Post Company
(Photos Nate Lankford For The Washington Post)
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