I have a lot of love for lemonade and consider it an essential warm weather drink. It satisfies my thirst like nothing else on a hot summer day, and leaves us all feeling refreshed when we’re convinced the heat is going to cause us to wilt. I like my puckery punch served from a pitcher over a glass full of ice, and have no problem infusing my drink with some fresh herbs, seasonal fruits, and a partial serving of tea. Read on to learn a few of my secrets for making memorable lemonade this summer.
Secret #1: Lemonade can leave behind a lot of guilt after each glass because there’s plenty of sugar packed into each sip. In order to keep our sugar consumption a little lower, my secret for making a naturally sweet summer sip is to reduce the sugar dramatically and add a few cups of pureed seasonal fruit instead. This tints the lemonade (or limeade) a pretty hue and makes me feel good about serving it to my family.
Here’s a recipe to try:
You’ll need: 2 cups fresh, pitted cherries + 1/3 cup natural cane sugar + ½ cup lemon or lime juice + 3 or more cups of cold water. Combine the fruit, sugar and citrus juice in a blender, add to a pitcher, and cover with cold water (start with three cups, and add more until you’ve achieved the desired tartness/sweetness you’re looking for).
Try swapping the cherries for strawberries, watermelon or cantaloupe and tinker with the quantity of sugar until you reach the flavour you’re looking for.
Secret #2: Never add ice to a pitcher of lemonade as it dilutes the flavour. Instead, fill glasses with ice before pouring over the punch and leave for a minute or two until perfectly chilled.
Secret #3: To enhance the citrus flavour, add the zest of the lemon/limes to the blender in addition to the juice.
Secret #4: Speaking of citrus, store yours at room temperature in order to extract the maximum amount of juice. If your lemons and limes happen to be cold, warm them in a bowl of hot water or in the microwave for 20 seconds. To break down the membranes and extract more juice, roll the fruit along the counter using your palm before you juice it.
Secret #5: Feel free to use cold-brewed tea–black, green, white, herbal–in place of water for an Arnold Palmer-esque drink.
Secret #6: My favourite variation is pink lemonade, and I’m not ashamed to admit there’s a frozen concentrated variety that I’m particularly fond of. I reserve drinking it for special occasions and have found that the best recipe is to combine one can of the concentrate with four cans of soda water (or three cans soda water and one can of ice) in order to create a very memorable drink that tastes extra special.
Now it’s your turn: what are your favourite lemonade flavours? Or are you a purist who prefers it plain? Do you like limeade as well? Do tell!