We went to Madison (my favorite town) and had this drink, which I am in LOVE with. I watched the bartender make it. First, I asked her what it's "called" so I can order it every time I'm presented with the question "what are you drinking?" and she kindly responded, "it's only served here, and we use mint from our own chef's garden out back." Oh. Crap. So....here's what she did.
She opened a drawer full of junk (yes, fancy hotel bars have junk drawers) and dug around in there for two very obviously stolen but unused Starbucks cups. Highlander and I were drinking by the pool. So, no glass for us rowdy Iowans. She put three lemon wedges in each cup and threw in a small handful of that very important mint. I think the next ingredient was simple syrup, and I come to this conclusion by process of elimination. The drink is sweet. After muddling this into a lemonade base, she very quickly (as if to remain secretive) poured in equal parts cheap vodka and seltzer. The cup wasn't full, but then she added a good heaping helping of ice and poked a straw into each drink. At this point, I should have looked away. She wanted me to look away. There was a guy at the bar who was distracting; all engrossed in his blackberry and trying to look like he couldn't bear to stop working even at the hotel bar past 10:30 pm on a Monday night. Waiting impatiently for me to take my Starbucks cups and go away so he could resume hitting on the bartender, who, although twenty years his junior, was clearly a goner for a balding salesman from Michigan. She poured a teeny tiny bit of Chambord in each cup, garnished with mint leaves and a lemon wedge, and pushed the cups towards me. After being dismissed with a semi-cheerful "enjoy!" I wandered around the corner to save all of this into my almost-long-term memory. Which is remarkable, because I'd already had one, and those weren't small cups.
I bought a bag of lemons on the way out of town at Trader Joes. I'm making simple syrup today and buying Chambord at the grocery store this week. Mad Town Lemonade is my new favorite drink. I'll switch to red wine at Halloween.