Lychees are delicious fruits to have around. I typically eat them as-is, since that is when you can really taste their perfumy melon flavor the best, or chop them up and pile them onto homemade frozen yogurt and shaved ice. The fruits don’t gain much additional flavor after cooking, so they are rarely used in recipes.
As a fan of lychee, a drink or cocktail that is lychee flavored is sure to catch my eye on a menu. I’ve seen and tasted a lot of lychee drinks over the past few years and they are often disappointing. Many of these drinks get their flavor from an artificially flavored syrup – and those syrups capture the sweetness, but not the subtlety, of the lychee. Inspired by a batch of fresh lychee, I whipped up a lychee-infused simple syrup of my own using those fresh fruits. The method is similar to the one I used to make strawberry syrup for the Strawberry Sangria recipe I shared a few weeks ago, and you can find the full recipe over on the Modern Tiki blog.
I used the lychee syrup as the primary sweetener for the limeade, adding in fresh lime juice and water until the flavors came together in perfect balance. The finished drink is both delicious and refreshing, with plenty of zesty lime to contrast with the soft, floral notes of the lychee syrup. It is sweet, but the sweetness feels very natural because of all the fruit flavor in the syrup, though sugar is added to support that natural sweetness. This recipe is suitable for all ages. If you want to play around with the syrup in a lychee cocktail, give my tiki-inspired Lychee Lani recipe a try, as well. I’m giving the recipe for the limeade below as a ratio, so you can easily scale it up or down to serve anywhere from one person to a big crowd.
1 part fresh lime juice
1 part homemade Lychee Simple Syrup
2 parts water
Combine all ingredients and stir. Fill glass with ice and serve.
For 1 serving: Use 1 1/2 oz per part.
For 4 Servings: Use 6 oz per part.