7.23.2013

The Best Lemonade Recipe + 12 Variations including Strawberry, Vanilla, Peach, Mint, and More!


Making a statement that this is "the best" is a bold move, I know, but in my humble opinion, this really is the best.  It starts with a lemonade concentrate that you can then add either additional flavors too or just additional water and serve.  The perfect balance of sweet and tangy.


The Best Lemonade
1 cup sugar
1 cup water
zest of 1 lemon
1 cup fresh squeezed lemon juice {I usually use 6-8 jumbo}
4-6 cups additional water


To make the simple syrup:
Put the sugar and lemon zest in a food processor and mix until blended.  In a medium saucepan over medium-high heat, add the lemon sugar and the 1 cup water.  Bring to a boil, stirring to dissolve the sugar.  Once it has come to a boil and the sugar is dissolved, remove from heat and allow to cool to room temperature.

To make the concentrate:
Mix together the cooled simple syrup mixture and the lemon juice.  This can be refrigerated up to 3 days or used immediately.

To make the lemonade:
Add the concentrate and 4-6 cups additional water to a large pitcher {start with 4 cups, taste, then continue adding water until it's the desired taste}.

Serve with ice.



The 12 Lemonade Variations:

1. Lavender Lemonade:  Add 2 Tablespoons lavender flowers {culinary use lavender} to the simple syrup.  Bring to a boil, remove from heat and strain out the flowers and discard.  Continue with the recipe as instructed.

2. Pink Lemonade:  Add either 1 cup Cranberry Juice or 2 teaspoons grenadine to the finished lemonade.

3.  Strawberry Lemonade:  Combine 2 cups hulled & chopped fresh strawberries with 1/4 cup granulated sugar.  Allow to sit at room temperature for about 45 minutes.  Strain the juice from the berries and add to the finished lemonade.  Discard the strawberry pulp or use in another recipe.

4. Strawberry Basil Lemonade:  Add 1/2 cup basil leaves to the simple syrup.  Bring to a boil, remove from heat and strain out the basil and discard.  Continue with the recipe as instructed.  Separately, combine 2 cups hulled & chopped fresh strawberries with 1/4 cup granulated sugar.  Allow to sit at room temperature for about 45 minutes.  Strain the juice from the berries and add to the finished lemonade.  Discard the strawberry pulp or use in another recipe.

5. Basil Lemonade:  Add 1/2 cup basil leaves to the simple syrup.  Bring to a boil, remove from heat and strain out the basil and discard.  Continue with the recipe as instructed.

6. Vanilla Berry Lemonade:  Add 1 vanilla bean pod + seeds to the simple syrup.  Bring to a boil, remove from heat and remove the vanilla pod and discard.  Continue with the recipe as instructed.  Put 1 cup of the cooled lemonade concentrate in a blender and add 1 bag {12 oz.} frozen {thawed} mixed berries.  Blend.  Continue with the recipe as instructed.

7.  Vanilla Lemonade:  Add 1 vanilla bean pod + seeds to the simple syrup.  Bring to a boil, remove from heat and remove the vanilla pod and discard.  Continue with the recipe as instructed.

8.  Ginger Lemonade:  Add 1/2 Tablespoon grated fresh ginger to the simple syrup mixture {prior to boiling}.  Continue with the recipe as instructed.

9.  Peach Lemonade:  Add 3/4 cup coarsely chopped, skinned, peaches to the simple syrup mixture.  Bring to a boil, remove from heat and continue with the recipe as instructed.

10.  Thyme Lemonade:  Add 1 bunch fresh thyme to the simple syrup.  Bring to a boil, remove from heat and strain out the thyme and discard.  Continue with the recipe as instructed.

11.  Mint Lemonade:  Add 1/2 cup fresh mint leaves to the simple syrup.  Bring to a boil, remove from heat and strain out the leaves and discard.  Continue with the recipe as instructed.

12.  Blueberry Lemonade:  Add 2 cups fresh blueberries to the food processor once the sugar and zest has been blended.  Blend the blueberries with the lemon sugar.  Continue with the recipe to cook the simple syrup, remove from heat and strain out the blueberry skins and discard.  Continue with the recipe as instructed.



Linking up to Strut Your Stuff Saturday!

2 comments:

daisy said...

Yummmmmmmmmm!

Dee @ Cocktails with Mom said...

Oh yum lemonade! I like the different variations you shared.