It seems a little weird to me that I am posting a recipe for what I consider to be the most basic of beverages, a beverage only about one notch simpler than, say, turning on the tap to fill a glass with water. Still, it was recently brought to my attention that there are a lot of people out there who don’t know how simple it is to make homemade lemonade. Maybe it’s the status of lemonade as a heralded summer drink that makes it seem like a daunting challenge to create at home, or perhaps it’s just a bit too easy to succumb to the allure of a bottle or two of the organic stuff that seems to be on sale at the market all summer long. Regardless, whether you’re making homemade lemonade by the glass or by the pitcher, you only have to keep track of a simple ratio in order to assure a perfect lemonade experience every time.
1 cup of water to 1.5 tablespoons of freshly-squeezed lemon juice, plus 2 tablespoons of sugar. That’s it. And here’s an odd little secret: the more you increase the volume of this recipe the more a surprise fourth ingredient begins to come into play. That ingredient? Salt. When you’ve got 8 cups of water diluting ¾ of a cup of lemon juice, the mixture starts to need a bit of perking up, and there is nothing more effective at perking up a nice, big pitcher of lemonade than a hefty pinch of sea salt. If you are making limeade instead of lemonade, that bit of salt becomes even more important, bringing out all the right notes of the lime’s flavor, and perfectly balancing it against the sugar.
Of course, once you’ve made yourself some lemonade, there is basically nothing stopping you from using it as the basis and inspiration for all types of wonderful drinks and treats. Muddle some fresh mint and fresh or frozen raspberries in the bottom of a glass, top it off with lemon or limeade, then drink as is, or add a splash of vodka. Or pour into popsicle molds and prepare yourself for some hot weather, perhaps even freezing the popsicles only halfway, then dropping some chunks of fresh fruit into the molds before popping everything back together and freezing completely. Once those babies are totally frozen, you’ve got yourself some fruit-filled citrus popsicles that are just to die for.
Last Year: Deep Dish German Pancake
Homemade Lemonade Recipe
I love making this with a mix of both lemons and limes, which, as you can see, is what I have done in these pictures. Also of note: I prefer a less sweet lemonade, so the amount of sugar you see here will result in an only mildly sweet drink. You can, of course, up the sugar content to suit your own personal tastes. The flavor of this lemonade will get more rounded as it is allowed to sit, so, if you’re making it for an event, I suggest making it a day ahead and allowing it to rest in the refrigerator for a day.
For a single serving:
1 cup water
1 ½ tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
2 tablespoons sugar
small pinch of sea salt
Combine ingredients in a tall glass or cocktail shaker, then stir or shake until sugar is completely dissolved. Add ice, if desired, and drink.
For a pitcher:
8 cups water
¾ cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
½ heaping cup sugar (or, to be more precise, ½ cup plus 2 tablespoons)
¼ teaspoon sea salt.
Combine ingredients in a large pitcher. Stir together until sugar has completely dissolved.