What better time to celebrate the lovely lemon than during the dog days of summer? Lemons have a long history as a crucial superfood that provides multiple health benefits. So, you can feel great about every glass of fresh lemonade you sip this summer. Each tall, cool drink is chock full of calcium, potassium and vitamin C. No wonder lemonade always tastes so delicious and refreshing, especially once the temperature rises and staying hydrated becomes a priority.
But these lemonade variations are not merely practical. Each recipe is also a tiny party in every glass. So, if you are entertaining this summer or you just need a happy pick-me-up at the end of a steamy day, get in the habit of buying your lemons by the bag and look no further than the fruit and herbs you have on hand. These lemonade recipes always look and taste terrific.
Basic Lemonade Syrup
Syrup will stay fresh in your fridge for several weeks if kept in an airtight container.
- 10 organic lemons, unwaxed
- 2 cups of sugar
- 1½ cups of cold water
Zest all the lemons and then juice them so you have about 1½ cups of liquid. Place all the zest, lemon juice, sugar and water in a saucepan and heat over medium heat until the sugar is dissolved. But take care not to boil. Strain the syrup into an airtight container and let it cool. Discard zest and seeds. Cover and refrigerate the syrup for several weeks. You will have about four cups of syrup, which will make 16 glasses of lemonade.
To prepare lemonade, mix a ¼ cup of syrup with ¾ cup of water and serve over ice. Garnish with lemon slices if desired.
Mash or blend ripe strawberries, raspberries, blueberries or any other type of berry you prefer. Add honey to sweeten, if sour, mix. Spoon the berry mixture into ice cube trays. Pop out cubes as needed and allow them to thaw in the bottom of a pitcher or glass. Unused frozen berry cubes can be removed and kept in a freezer bag, where they should last all summer. When ready to serve, top thawed berry cubes with ice cubes. Add lemonade, lemon slices and a sturdy straw for stirring.
Watermelon or Peach Lemonade
Use the same technique as Berry Lemonade but don’t add honey to mashed watermelon. Keep watermelon cubes in a separate freezer bag so you can mix up flavors as the dog days progress. Works just as well with fresh peaches.
Follow the recipe for lemon syrup but substitute organic limes. Increase the number of limes to 12 and reduce the sugar to 1½ cups. Otherwise, follow the recipe as directed. Mix ¼ cup of syrup with ¾ cup of soda water. Add two maraschino cherries with a splash or two of cherry juice in each glass. Garnish with lime slices if desired. The sweetness of limes may vary. If limeade is not sweet enough, increase the sugar in the syrup recipe next time.
Put four ice cubes per serving into a blender. Pour in one-quarter as much Basic Lemonade Syrup as you have ice for a thick slushy. If you desire a thinner consistency add as much water as syrup. Blend on high until smooth. Substitute berry or watermelon cubes for ice cubes as desired. Pour into short glasses and serve with a straw or long spoon. This approach works just as well with limeade.
Add ice to glasses and fill halfway with fresh lemonade and halfway with sun tea made from black tea. Adjust proportions to suit tastes. Garnish with lemon slices or serve over peach ice cubes. To make sun tea, remove tags and strings from 10-12 regular-size black tea bags. Add tea bags to a gallon of water in a glass container and place in direct sunlight for four hours. Remove tea bags and chill the tea. Stays fresh for two days when refrigerated. Red Rose or your store’s generic tea bags work well and typically cost less than packaged sun tea bags.
Fresh Herbs That Compliment Lemonade & Limeade:
- Lavender (culinary variety)
- For a beautiful presentation, freeze sprigs of herbs into your ice cubes as well as using fresh sprigs for garnish.
For The Love of Lemons Ready for seconds? Why not? This is not medical advice, but lemon juice has long been rumored to help alleviate:
- Canker/cold sores
- Common cold
- Digestive problems
- Kidney stones
- Nose bleeds
- Sore throat