By: Elizabeth Stark
Warm weather calls for stellar beverages, and few drinks are as classically refreshing as homemade lemonade. If you’ve never made your own, you’re in for a treat. Just one cup of fresh squeezed lemon juice is enough for an entire pitcher of perfect lemonade!
Basic Lemonade Recipe
Makes: 4 1/2 cups
Prep time: 20 minutes
Cook time: 5 minutes
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup water
1 cup fresh squeezed lemon juice (8 to 10 large lemons)
1/2 cup simple syrup (see above)
3 cups cold water
1 lemon sliced
- In a small saucepan, create a simple syrup by heating 1/2 cup water over medium heat
- Add 1/2 cup sugar and stir until dissolved
- Set aside and let cool — keep any remaining simple syrup in a sealed jar in the fridge
- Combine the lemon juice and simple syrup in a pitcher and stir
- Add 3 cups cold water
- Taste, and add more water if needed
- Add the lemon slices and ice, and serve
Tip: Because individual tastes and the sweetness of lemons can vary, you’ll want to adjust your lemonade to suit your own liking. Once you’ve made the basic recipe, give it a taste and adjust the lemon juice, sweetener or water as desired.
4 Creative Lemonade Variations
1. Pomegranate Lemonade
For each cup of homemade lemonade, add 2 tablespoons of pomegranate juice. Stir to combine. Serve over ice with a lemon slice and fresh pomegranate seeds.
2. Rosemary Lemonade
For a pronounced rosemary flavor, add two rosemary sprigs to the simple syrup. Steep for 10 minutes, and then strain. For a lighter rosemary flavor, add three sprigs to the lemon and simple syrup mixture. Use a wooden spoon to mash the rosemary leaves a bit. Then, proceed as above. To serve, pour rosemary-infused lemonade over ice, and garnish with a lemon slice, rosemary sprig and fresh fruit.
Tip: For more tasty, infused drink options, check out our 11 natural ways to infuse water.
3. A Half and Half
To make a classic half and half, pour 1/2 cup homemade lemonade and 1/2 cup unsweetened iced tea over ice and stir. Garnish with a lemon slice.
4. Fruity Lemonade
Fresh berries or stone fruits add a delightful pop of flavor — as well as gorgeous color —to lemonade. Toss 1 cup sliced fruit with 1 tablespoon sugar. Mash with a fork and set aside for 15 minutes. When ready, swirl macerated fruit into the lemonade. To serve, pour fruity lemonade over ice and garnish with sliced fruit and a lemon slice.
When life gives you lemons, your options are delicious! What’s your favorite way to enjoy lemonade? Tell us in the comments section below!
Elizabeth Stark, along with her husband Brian Campbell, writes the blog Brooklyn Supper — the story of a family eating with the seasons in Virginia and Brooklyn. They believe strongly that good, local food and wholesome meals should be for everyone.