Cool Drinks, Boston: Sofra's Red Dragon
I discover something new and delicious almost every time I go to Sofra, particularly off the drink menu. Their hot chocolate is ultra-decadent—some of the best in town—and when I've wanted something icy and refreshing, I've rotated between the orange blossom lemonade and the sharbats. But I haven't ordered either one since I had my first Red Dragon.
The two core elements of this ruby red drink are sour cherry puree and iced green dragon tea (at Sofra, they use leaves from Somerville-based MEM Tea Imports), plus a healthy dose of simple syrup (4:1 tea to syrup ratio) and some fresh lemon juice. After the leaves steep for 5 minutes, they're strained out, and the tea is then cooled slightly before the cherry puree is whisked in, followed by the syrup and lemon juice. To remove all solids, the mixture is strained twice through a chinois, then chilled and served over ice.
Fruit-flavored iced tea this is not, thanks to the high-quality Ravifruit morello cherry puree they use that tips the flavor balance heavily towards the red stuff. It's more like sipping sour cherry pie filling through a straw (the drink of my dreams!), except that the green tea gives it a cleaner, more refreshing finish and mellows the sweetness. I've been known to drive clear across town to get one—and I may or may not have downed it and ordered a second one to go.
Sofra Bakery and Cafe
About the author: Liz Bomze lives in Brookline, MA, and works as the Associate Features Editor for Cook's Illustrated Magazine. In her free time, she freelances regularly for the Boston Globe, Boston Magazine, the Improper Bostonian, and Martha's Vineyard Magazine; practices bread-baking and canning; takes photos; reads; and watches baseball. Top 5 foods: fresh noodles, gravlax, sour cherry pie, burrata, ma po tofu.