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Classic Homemade Lemonade

Classic Homemade Lemonade

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.

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  • Clare Eats
    January 13, 2006

    This is PERFECT! for the weather we have been having here!!! YAY!!!

    Thanks 😉

    BTW is it ok to use sparkling water?

  • Nic
    January 13, 2006

    Sure, Clare. Sparkling water sounds like it would be delicious!

  • lucette
    January 13, 2006

    I do make it with simple syrup, but sometimes when I’m making just one glass I like to stir the sugar in and drink it with a straw–the sugar at the bottom is slushy but still partly solid, and I move the straw around prospecting for sugar. Probably a personal taste!

  • Claire Joy
    January 13, 2006

    You betcha I voted for you! Every recipe I’ve ever used from your blog has gotten rave reviews at our convent… from soups to scones to desserts. You rule!

  • Zarah Maria
    January 13, 2006

    Love the pitcher Nic! And thanks for the sugar syrup tip, I never thought of that – I suspect it’d work great for iced tea too – even though both of these things is a bit to cold to contemplate around here now… But come summer, ah!:-)

  • anni
    January 13, 2006

    You have my BOB vote.
    Enjoy the Kudos. You deserve them.



  • Angie
    January 13, 2006

    It’s refreshing enough, just looking at your lemonade ;p

  • Michelle
    January 13, 2006

    It looks so good! I wish I had a lemon tree here. I am going to have to make this tomorrow. It has been really warm here to and this sounds delish!

  • Kalyn
    January 13, 2006

    Congratulations and good luck on the Best of Blogs. I feel really honored to be in the finals with so many great blogs.

  • Ivonne
    January 13, 2006

    We’re a long way from summer here in Canada, but I will most definitely put this recipe aside for the dog days of July.

    Thank you!

  • Anonymous
    January 14, 2006

    i WILL definitely vote for you!

    btw, adding vanilla do you mean vanilla essence? vanilla extract?
    both are the same?


  • Shauna
    January 14, 2006

    I cannot believe you’ve been having 88 degree weather in January. Oh wait, I grew up in LA. I can.

    Good luck with it. This lemonade looks scrumptious, Nic.

  • Katy
    January 18, 2006

    Hooray for a little winter pick me up. (actually it is in the 100’s here so I cant complain THAT much). I just went to the market and got a bunch of fresh lemons so I will go try it out right now. Fabu picture as well 🙂

  • keiko
    January 19, 2006

    Hi Nic – I thought I might be too late but am glad that I could vote for you. Your recipes are wonderful and I love your unpretentious writing.

    I love adding some honey as well as sugar syrup when I make lemonade – your picture is really lovely!

  • Anonymous
    June 14, 2006

    Thanks for the basic recipe. I wasn’t sure about the ratio of water to sugar. I’m planning on doubling this and keeping it refrigerated(the simple syrup with the lemon juice added)for lemonade, but also as the base in fruit smoothies, as I don’t like adding juice(often too much sugar)and I’m not crazy about using yogurt). I also suggest the folks try raw sugar(also called turbinado sugar). It’s not as refined as granulated, you can use less, and it has a slightly more nutritional value than refined white sugar. I’ve found it sold in markets as “Sugar in the Raw” in 2lb. boxes. I like your writing, and will vote for you.

    Thanks again. I’m not a blogger yet, but I’m joining!

  • Bernardo Salles
    April 2, 2007

    For the kind of weather we have here in Brazil it is the perfect kind of juice ever… tks really very much!

    And I love it!! This web site and you guys, rulesss!!!


  • ChabrellIgaN
    April 2, 2009

    Zdraste! Vot takoi vot u vas horoshiy sait. Spasibki.

  • Chris
    September 23, 2009

    Thank you for that post!

  • mavi koltuk
    May 2, 2010

    This is a great WordPress Blog. What theme are you using?

  • Interesting post and I really like your take on the issue. I now have a clear idea on what this matter is all about. Thank you so much.

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