Lemonade is a drink that I associate with summer and it never fails to quench my thirst on a hot summer day, even if the temperature sores to over 100F. I’m also lucky enough to have some lemon trees that I can access very easily (and plenty of friends with lemon trees, too), so I like to make up up my lemonade in big batches and not by the glass. That means I’ll always have plenty of lemonade to share.
One trick to making great lemonade is to make a sugar syrup instead of trying to stir granulated sugar right into your lemon juice. The acid of the lemon juice will dissolve the sugar given a little time, but a sugar syrup is much quicker and easier. Simple syrup is water with sugar, usually an equal amount, dissolved in it. The syrup will blend into the lemon juice immediately, streamlining the lemonade-making process.
Lemonade is very much a matter of taste. Sometimes I want something tart, while other times I want something quite sweet. Ths amount of sugar here is in between, though a bit on the sweet side because that is how my preferences run. Don’t feel bound to it. Use more or less, according to your tastes.
Classic Homemade Lemonade
1 cup water
1 cup sugar
1 1/2 cups lemon juice (about 8 lemons)
5 cups cold water
In a small saucepan, combine 1 cup water and 1 cup sugar. Bring to a boil, stirring occasionally, cooking until sugar is dissolved. Remove from heat.
Pour lemon juice into a 2-quart or larger pitcher. Add cold water. Add about 1 cup sugar syrup, to taste, and stir to incorporate. Chill until cold and ready to serve.
Makes 6 servings.
For the sugar-rimmed glasses: Sprinkle 1-2 tbsp sugar on a small plate. Run a wedge of lemon around the rim of your glass and dip glass into sugar. Fill with lemonade.
Extra lemony – Add 1-2 tsp lemon zest to the sugar/water mixture as you make the syrup.
Hint of vanilla – Stir 1/2 tsp vanilla into the syrup when you remove it from the heat.