There are few beverages more thirst-quenching on a hot summer day than a nice tall glass of lemonade. While there are plenty of lemonade concentrate options in the frozen foods aisle at your local supermarket, none of these comes close to the fragrance and brightness of a freshly made pitcher of homemade lemonade.
Simple Homemade Lemonade Recipe
1 cup cane sugar, or other sweetener
1 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice (approximately 4-5 lemons)
A few lemon slices for garnish
3 cups water
1 additional cup water for making syrup
The easiest way to make lemonade is to start by mixing up a batch of simple syrup (recipe below). Using the syrup helps the sugar to integrate more evenly into the lemonade and eliminates any granular textures in the finished drink. You can mix up an extra batch of simple syrup and store it in an old liquor or wine bottle in the refrigerator for making drinks one at a time.
For the lemonade, simply combine lemon juice, simple syrup, and the remaining 3 cups of water in a pitcher and stir. Serve over ice.
Put one cup of sugar (cane sugar is best, but any white sugar will do) and one cup of water in a small saucepan over high heat. Bring to a rolling boil, stirring frequently. Let boil for at least one minute or until all of the sugar crystals have dissolved and the syrup appears clear. Remove from heat and let cool before use.
Note: If you are using agave nectar, you may want to use a slightly smaller amount as most tend to be sweeter than regular sugar. If you are using honey as your sweetener it is best not to heat the mixture to a full boil, as you may strip the honey of its unique floral and nutty nuances.
Fresh Ginger Lemonade Recipe
Using the homemade lemonade recipe above, peel ¾ ounce of fresh ginger root (approximately one inch) and mince it using a microplane or fine cheese grater. Add the minced ginger to the sugar and water when making the simple syrup (see above). For stronger ginger flavor, let the ginger steep in the syrup for several days in the refrigerator.
Lavender Lemonade Recipe
Whenever using fresh lavender it is best to employ a light hand–a subtly intoxicating bliss can quickly turn to an overtly perfumed bitterness. For a delightfully fresh and floral lavender lemonade add 3-4 tablespoons of fresh lavender flowers and stems when making the simple syrup (see above). A full stem of lavender also makes an elegant garnish for the finished lemonade.
Fresh Mint Lemonade Recipe
A bit of fresh mint adds an additional cool and refreshing element to your summertime lemonade. Simply muddle a dozen leaves in the bottom of each glass before adding the ice and homemade lemonade (recipe above).
Fresh Rosemary Cucumber Lemonade Recipe
To serve up a sophisticated and delightful summertime drink the next time you have guests over, place a small sliced cucumber and the leaves from two large sprigs of fresh rosemary in a bowl. Using a muddler, wooden spoon, or potato masher gently crush the cucumber and rosemary leaves. Add the simple syrup (see above) and let sit for an hour or so before straining into a pitcher. Add the fresh lemon juice and water from the recipe above and garnish with a sprig of fresh rosemary.
Strawberry Lemonade Recipe
For a simple and easy berry cooler, blend a pint of fresh strawberries with the lemon juice. Stir all the ingredients well before serving. Garnish with whole fresh strawberries and some lemon zest.
Lynchburg Lemonade Recipe
2 cups gomme syrup (recipe below)
1 pint vodka
1 tsp. orange flower water
½ cup orange juice
1 cup cane sugar
1 cup water
2 cups fresh lemon juice
1 750mL bottle Jack Daniel’s
Even though Lynchburg, Tennessee, is located in a dry county it is home to the famous Jack Daniel’s distillery. In a typical Lynchburg Lemonade, one combines equal parts Jack Daniel’s, sweet and sour mix, and triple sec topped off with lemon-lime soda. It’s quick, easy, and tastes decent. But if you want to serve your guests a real special treat, you’ll need a few more ingredients and about a month before your Lynchburg Lemonade is ready to serve.
Scrub the oranges and lemons well to remove any pesticides, wax, or stickers. With a vegetable peeler, take off the thin outside peels of the citrus and place them in a large, airtight, jar. Pour the gomme syrup (recipe below) over the peels while it is still hot. Wait for the mixture to cool, then add the vodka, orange juice, and orange flower water. Seal tightly and let sit in a cool, dry place for about a month.
On the day of your party, bring the remaining water and sugar to boil. After the sugar has dissolved remove the syrup from the heat and let cool. Take a quick sample taste of your finished homemade orange liqueur. If everything tastes good, add the syrup, fresh lemon juice, and Jack Daniel’s to the orange liqueur. Serve over ice and garnish with citrus slices and fresh cherries.
2 oz gum arabic
2 oz water
8 oz cane sugar
4 oz water
Dissolve the gum arabic into 2 ounces of nearly boiling water. In a separate pan heat the remaining water and sugar. Once the sugar has dissolved, add the gum arabic. Boil for two minutes, stirring frequently.
Source: Thousands of hot days and hundreds of pitchers of lemonade.