What do you think of first when you think of summer drinks? If you said ‘Water’, you’re not shooting high enough. Beer? Wine Spritzer? A Frozen Margarita? Yah! But still not the ultimate. And there are folks who don’t drink Alcohol… My nominee for the universal summer beverage is Lemonade!
Lemonade has a long, venerable history and is universally acceptable, regardless of religious or cultural dietary customs. What other ‘special’ beverage can say that? But one of the traditions behind Lemonade is that no two Moms make it the same way! I have a recipe that I love, which seems to contain the ideal ratio of Lemon Juice to Water and isn’t too sweet, either. All bartenders know this. That’s why they are never without Simple Syrup!
What you need…
1 cup / 250 ml fresh Lemon Juice
1 cup White Sugar
8 cups / 2 L Water *
1/2 cup fresh Mint leaves
* You can substitute 4 cups / 1 L of Club Soda or Tonic Water for half of the Water, for a nice, bright, sparking drink. (See below.)
What you do…
In a small sauce pan, heat 1 cup of plain water to the simmer and add the cup of Sugar. Stir until the Sugar is dissolved. Remove from heat and set aside to cool. You’ve just made Simple Syrup, the easiest form of Sugar to add to a cold beverage. If you just dump white sugar into Lemon Juice and water, the Sugar will take forever, stirring and cursing, to dissolve.
Juice your lemons making sure no seeds or pulp or white pith get into the Juice.
In a large pitcher, measure out 7 cups / 1.75 L of cold Water. I much prefer Filtered Water but you can use bottled Water if you want. Just don’t tell me because I’ll lecture you on the pollution those empty bottles generate!
Pour the Lemon Juice and Syrup into the water and stir gently but firmly until all the ingredients are combined.
Serve over Ice in chilled glasses.
Garnish with fresh Mint Leaves to taste.
If you want a more grown-up taste with a sparking finish, replace 4 cups / 1 L of the Water with 4 cups / 1 L of Club Soda or Tonic Water. You can use home-brewed Soda Siphon water, but the bubbles will not be as long lasting. Try all the variations here and see which flavour you like best.
And then, sit back and enjoy!
Everyone you serve it to will want the recipe for your Lemonade. It’s up to you whether you reveal your secret touches or not!
~ Maggie J.