Cool Drinks, Boston: Limeade at Cutty's
Everyone knows about the terrific sandwiches at Cutty's: the spuckies; the Saturday-only roast pork specials; the cult-favorite roast beef 1000, piled high with thin-shaved eye round, cheddar, crispy shallots, and house Thousand Island on black-pepper brioche. They've mastered the concept.
What doesn't get the chatter it deserves is the limeade.
Maybe most versions aren't bad (I'll say it—I kind of like the Newman's Own stuff), but a limeade that nails the sweet-tangy balance is strangely elusive. I imagine most of what makes or breaks any limeade is all in the proportions, but owner Charles Kelsey has a few tricks that make his stand out.
The first is obvious: fresh-squeezed juice. The second: Rather than just whisking granulated sugar into the drink, he makes a simple syrup. That means every sip is perfectly sweet-tart, unlike so many versions where the liquid at the top of the glass is sharp and sour and the stuff at bottom, where the sugar has settled, is saccharine.
The third—and this is the trump card: vanilla sugar. Kelsey says he doesn't make vanilla sugar specifically for the limeade; all the sugar in the restaurant (most of which is used for baking cookies, crumb cake, and their other sweet treats) happens to be infused with the beans. As he admits, the effect is subtle, but it's there: just the barest hint of vanilla's rich, heady perfume on the edge of the ultra-refreshing drink.