As you all know, I received a whole bunch of lemons recently. The lemon-strawberry ice cream that I made didn’t even make a dent in the pile that I had taking up space in my fridge. So, I needed a way to use them all up before they got all mushy and gross and I had to chuck them into the garbage. Enter: the easiest lemonade recipe you’ll probably ever make — aside from just stirring some lemon juice with water and sugar in a glass, which, lets face it, never turns out well cause the sugar doesn’t fully dissolve in cold water. The secret to this recipe? Simple syrup!
This recipe is obviously slightly more time consuming than the lemon juice-water-sugar method, but oh so much better! The simple syrup (usually equal parts sugar and water, boiled together until the sugar is dissolved) is the magic trick to easy, perfectly sweet-tart lemonade. You can adjust the quantities to your liking, or adjust depending on how much lemon juice you have on hand. Make enough for one glass, or enough for a whole backyard full of people, if you’re having a barbecue or outdoor get-together! That may be wishful thinking for some of you, especially those of you who are still digging out of piles of snow from last weekend. But, you can dream! And you can file away this recipe for when the temperatures climb, and you dream of nothing more than a frosty glass of lemonade to take your mind off the sweltering heat for one lovely moment…
(yields 2 1/2 quarts, or 10 cups)
1 part water (2 cups)
3/4 parts sugar (1 1/2 cups)
1 part lemon juice (2 cups)
3 parts cold water, to dilute (6 cups)
The great thing about this recipe, as I stated up there, is that you can make as little or as much as you want. The actual measurements in the parentheses are what I used, which gave me the 2 1/2 quarts of lemonade. Just do a little simple math to convert up or down depending on how much lemonade you want to make.
First step, juice your lemons! An easy way to do this is to cut them in half and squeeze by hand over a strainer set into a large measuring cup. If you have a citrus reamer or an electric juicer, by all means, use whichever way you find to be easiest — just remember to strain out the pulp and any stray seeds! To get the 2 cups of juice, I used about 6 gigantic lemons’ worth, or you could use 12 regular lemons. Pour the juice into a large pitcher and set aside.
In a saucepan (or large pot, depending on how much you’re making), combine your 3/4 parts sugar and your 1 part water to make your simple syrup. On medium-high heat, dissolve the sugar in the water. Let the mixture come to a boil, and continue boiling for one minute. Once the sugar is fully dissolved, pour it into the pitcher with your lemon juice.
Stir your 3 parts cold water into the syrup-lemon juice mixture. If you feel it needs to be more tart, add a little more lemon juice if you have it. Let the lemonade chill in the fridge for 2 hours or more, until it’s as cold as you’d like it. If you want to serve it immediately, pour over a glass full of ice and enjoy!
There are some variations you can make with this recipe. If you’d like limeade, just substitute lime juice for the lemon juice. You can easily make strawberry lemonade as well! Just throw in a few sliced strawberries with the lemon juice in the pitcher, muddle with a wooden spoon until they’re roughly mashed up, and proceed with the recipe. Chill the strawberry lemonade in the fridge for several hours or overnight, so that the strawberry flavor can really shine through. Strain the strawberry pulp out before serving, if you’d like.