There is nothing better on a hot summer day than a tall, cool, refreshing glass of lemonade. This drink can be much more than just lemons, sugar and water, however, and there are many delicious ways to add a bit of unique summer taste to classic lemonade.
Basic Lemonade Recipe
Everyone has their own tried-and-true lemonade recipe combining water, lemon juice and sugar to suit their individual tastes and quantity needs. Some recipes may include lemon slices, wedges or zest infusing the water, while others may add a touch of honey for more subtle sweetness. Seeds are removed from the drink, and pulp may be strained out or left in the water for a robust texture. The water may be heated to help the sugar dissolve more quickly, and the drink is most often served chilled or over ice. Glasses or jugs may be garnished with lemon slices, wedges or even sprigs of edible flowers or herbs for contrasting color and summer flair. No matter how you make it, however, there are always ways to make summer lemonade even better!
More Than Lemons
To add a more unique taste to your summer lemonades, try any of these seasonal variations. Juices may be used to replace water from a basic lemonade recipe, or else could be used in addition to the water for a more diffuse, subtle flavor. Purees should not replace as much water, since the thickness of the puree would be more difficult to drink. For the hottest summer days, each of these lemonades can also be frozen for an icy treat!
- Sparkling Lemonade
For any special occasion, use carbonated or seltzer water to make your basic lemonade and give it a bit of jazzy fizz. For more flavoring, consider mixing in lemon-lime soda for all or part of the water. Garnish glasses with a sugar rim for even more of a spritzy appeal.
- Strawberry Lemonade
A favorite summer flavor, strawberry lemonade is made by mixing fresh strawberry puree into your lemonade. Allowing the layers to settle will give the drink an elegant contrast, and a half strawberry is a beautiful garnish for the edge of a glass.
- Tropical Lemonade
Give your lemonade a tropical, summery touch by adding tropical juices. Consider just one flavor – mango, papaya, pineapple, apricot, banana or coconut – or use a blended tropical juice for a summery lemonade punch. Garnish glasses with appropriate fruit or a kiwi slice.
- Mint Lemonade
For a truly refreshing lemonade, bruise fresh mint leaves and add them to the pitcher to steep and infuse the lemonade with a bright mint flavoring. Strain the leaves out of the lemonade before serving, but garnish glasses with a fresh sprig. Several sprigs can also garnish the jug.
- Watermelon Lemonade
For a fresh, sweet lemonade, replace some of the recipe’s water with strained watermelon puree, or the puree from a seedless watermelon. Because watermelon can be a weaker flavor, use more puree and less water, and garnish glasses with a crisp pink wedge.
- Cranberry Lemonade
A splash of cranberry juice can help tone down overly-sweet lemonade, and float fresh cranberries in the glass for a pop of brilliant color. The cranberry juice will also turn the lemonade into a beautiful pink shade. Add more berries to the jug for garnish as well.
- Raspberry Lemonade
Another summer favorite, raspberry lemonade is easy to make with very ripe raspberries. Crush or puree the berries and strain out seeds before adding them to the drink. The layers will separate for lovely color, and a plump blackberry is a summery garnish for each glass.
- Peach Lemonade
The mellow flavor of peaches pairs well with lemonade. Simmer peeled, diced peaches with water and sugar for ten minutes, then puree them before adding to the drink. A fresh peach wedge is a sweet summery garnish when perched on a glass’s rim.
Any lemonade variation can also be given a sophisticated, adult air when a splash of alcohol is added. Rum, vodka and whiskey are choice options, but take care that all guests will enjoy the unexpected spirit before adding it.
Beyond the Glass
In addition to lemonades, lemon is a great flavoring for many tasty summer dishes and treats. Investigate recipes for lemon cookies, cakes, pies and puddings, as well as lemon glazes for chicken or fish. For non-edibles, consider lemon-scented candles or air infusers, refreshing lemon-scented soaps or using bright, ripe lemons in bowls or vases for sweet summer decorations.
Whatever your taste preferences there is a summer lemonade recipe you’ll love, so raise a glass to this classic summertime beverage – cheers!