Hot summer days are coming, and the only way to survive them is with a cold beverage in hand. Soda’s reign is long over; sweet tea is sticky and one-dimensional; but lemonade never lets you down. Balanced with just the right level of tart and sweet, this childhood classic deserves a fresh look this summer (no powdered mix or store-bought pink stuff allowed). Invest a few minutes into making a big batch of lemonade concentrate, store it in your fridge, and enjoy fresh-squeezed lemonade any time you crave it. You’ll wonder how sweet tea ever got crowned as the South’s summer drink.
2 cups sugar
2 ½ cups fresh-squeezed lemon juice (from about 16 lemons)
- Bring the sugar and 1 ¼ cups of water to a boil and cook, stirring occasionally, until the sugar dissolves, about 2 minutes. Remove from heat and let cool completely.
- Stir the lemon juice into the simple syrup to create a concentrate. Store in an airtight container or bottle in the refrigerator for up to three weeks, or freeze it for later use.
- When ready for a glass of lemonade, simply pour concentrate into a glass and dilute with cold water and ice to taste. A good ratio is one part concentrate to one part water—but use less water if you like your lemonade punchier.
Upgrade Your Lemonade
Sure this sounds like a drink you’d order from Chili’s circa 2007, but its appeal can’t be denied. Purée ½ lb. hulled strawberries in a blender to yield approx 1 cup (strain through a fine mesh sieve if desired). Stir together ¼ cup strawberry pureé, 4 oz. lemonade concentrate, and 3 oz. water. Pour into a glass filled with ice.
So simple you can make this with one hand, which is good, because you should have a book in the other for a couple hours of porch sitting. Pour one part lemonade concentrate and one part club soda in a glass filled with ice and stir.
This frozen mint lemonade is an Israeli staple for a reason—the combo of cool mint and tart cold lemonade cuts right through summer heat to refresh. Blend 8 oz. of ice, 5 oz. of lemonade concentrate, 5 oz. of water, and a packed ¼ cup of fresh mint leaves in a blender to slushie consistency. Pour into a tall glass and enjoy with a straw.
Photography by Jivan Dave