Nothing says summer to me more than a glass of ice-cold, fresh-squeezed lemonade. The sickly sweet powder-based mixture was a staple at the picnics of my youth but the real stuff has always been a favorite of mine.
In college, I used to frequent this Mediterranean restaurant next to campus. They made the best fresh-squeezed lemonade to order. I like my lemonade on the tart side, not too sweet. The powder-based stuff is usually too saccharine for my taste, but this place did it right. It was always a special treat for me. Like, last-day-of-classes special.
To me, lemonade is best when there are tiny flecks of lemon pulp in the juice. I like to rub some of the sugar into the rinds before I juice the lemons — this helps the sugar to collect some of the bitterness of the rinds and to cut down on the sweetness. I read about that trick once, and it truly makes for better lemonade, I think.
All you need to make lemonade is lemon juice, sugar and water. This Spiked Lavender Lemonade has the addition of two more ingredients — vodka and lavender extract. The lavender adds a light floral flavor to the citrus blend and the vodka provides a little kick.
If these early summer nights need a little sprucing up, this Spiked Lavender Lemonade is the ticket. // susannah
A summertime lemonade with a light floral flavor
- 2 cups sugar
- 8–12 large lemons (to yield 2 cups fresh lemon juice)
- 1 cup hot water
- 1 teaspoon lavender extract
- 1 gallon cold water
- 1.5 ounces vodka, per glass (optional)
- 1 lemon, sliced, for garnish
- Mint sprigs or lavender flowers, for garnish
- Add the sugar to a large gallon-sized bowl. Rub sugar into the rinds of the lemons to access the flavorful oils in the skins. Then, juice the lemons into another bowl and set aside.
- Pour hot water into the sugar. Stir until dissolved. The mixture should be thick and clear when the sugar is dissolved.
- Stir in lemon juice, lavender extract and cold water. Refrigerate until cool, about 30 minutes or more. To serve, fill glasses with ice, then add vodka and top with lemonade.