Nothing beats a glass of homemade summer lemonade on a hot day. Here's the best way to sip into the perfect sunshine drink of the season.
You know the phrase, "When life gives you lemons, make lemonade." Well I think it's "when summer comes to town, make lemonade!"
It's the quintessential drink of the season and I've put together a list of common mistakes and easy-to-fix solutions for the perfect homemade lemonade.
How to make classic lemonade
Making classic lemonade starts by making sure that your sugar is mixed in perfectly. Sounds crazy, but it's true. A lot of people think throwing together sugar, water, and lemons will make a great pitcher of lemonade.
However, in the process, all the sugar sinks to the bottom of the pitcher and it takes forever to dissolve. I have a great tip using something called simple syrup.
The solution: heat the water and sugar together to make a syrup, and then add the lemon juice to your water-sugar syrup (called simple syrup). You'll taste the sweetness of the sugar and the richness of the lemons all at the same time. I think this makes the best lemonade recipe.
Simple syrup: the key to homemade lemonade
For this lemonade with simple syrup, I make the syrup ahead (the syrup can hang out in your fridge for several weeks in a plastic container) and have it at the ready, chilled, to add to my lemon juice.
Having cold, pre-made simple syrup on hand makes stirring up a pitcher of fresh lemonade easy.
Simple syrup is just a mixture of equal parts sugar and water, dissolved over heat, and then cooled. It can be stored in the fridge for up to 3 weeks.
Another way to sweeten your lemonade with sugar
You certainly don't have to make lemonade with simple syrup.
Another way to make homemade lemonade is using superfine sugar. Mix it directly in with your lemon juice and water, it simply dissolves faster. And yes, yes, regular sugar is fine too, but you'll certainly build some stirring muscles stirring, and stirring.
Make your lemonade strong to go with ice!
Perfectly sweetened lemonade is one thing. But you don't want tasteless lemonade.
Solution: I always make mine a tad on the strong side.
I also like to pour my lemonade over ice. Typically on a summer day you're soon left with a watered down beverage as the ice melts quickly.
My recipe is balanced to make a sweet and tart, stronger-flavored lemonade that can be poured over ice.
If you know you're serving it over ice right away, leave out just a little of the water and make that stuff strong! When poured over ice it will be perfect. If you plan to chill your drink for a while, you can make the recipe as written!
Make classic Pink Lemonade
I love a pink lemonade. It's pretty and classy. While pink lemons exist, they are typically only in season a short time, expensive, found by special order, and really don't create a real pink lemonade look!
You don't need to use food coloring to tint your classic lemonade pink. Just use a natural juice! Check out my solution below.
The solution: cranberry juice! That's right, a splash of cranberry juice will tint your summer lemonade pink, but you aren't adding enough to flavor it. The bright, classic lemon flavor still shines through.
Cranberry juice, or even a splash of cherry juice, is the typical, and natural way to make pink lemonade.
Lemonade FAQs and Tips
Make delicious lemonade! Find answers to common mistakes.
Mistake: Leaving undissolved granulated sugar in your lemonade.
Solution: Use simple syrup (equal parts sugar and water dissolved over heat) to sweeten your lemonade.
Mistake: Tasteless, diluted lemonade.
Solution: Make your lemonade stronger, with less water, so you can serve it over ice. As the ice melts the flavor balance is perfect.
Mistake: Using food coloring to make Pink Lemonade.
Solution: Use cranberry or cherry juice to color your homemade lemonade pink. The taste won't change.
Lemonade can be made to taste, but I always use the simple ratio of equal parts lemon juice, sugar, and water. I make the sugar and water into a simple syrup then stir the syrup into the lemon juice.
Once the lemon syrup mixture is made, I dilute the lemon syrup with water to taste.
Try my other refreshing drinks:
Let me know how it went!
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Classic Summer Homemade Lemonade
- 1 ½ cups sugar
- 1 ½ cups water
- 1 ½ cups fresh lemon juice
- 4 cups cold water
- In a saucepan over medium-high heat, dissolve sugar in water. Remove from heat and let cool completely.
- In a pitcher stir together the simple syrup and lemon juice. Add the cold water and stir to combine.
- Serve lemonade over ice or chill in fridge. Feel free to add more or less cold water to your taste preference (see note).
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