Summer’s best lemonade

When I was growing up we traveled frequently to see my relatives in Guatemala. I was a foodie even then – I looked forward to sugar-crusted plátanos rellenos with equal enthusiasm as I did our trips to see the craggy ruins of ancient temples. Some things I have never found satisfactory replicas of in the States – the doughy warmth of a smoky, salted just-off-the-comal tortilla or the unknown spices that flavor thick cacique soup.

One of these things is Guatemalan lemonade. The lemons there are just different from the ones in the States, it seems, because the lemonade you get in Guatemala is sweet, almost floral, with very little of the throat-burning acridness (combatted with too much sugar) that seems such a part of US lemonade… almost as if they used lemon-flavored oranges to make their delightful beverage. In the States I never, ever order/buy/make lemonade, but while in Guatemala I ask for it with every meal.

I was reading about lemonade the other day when someone brought up the topic of using the lemon zest as well as the juice of the sour fruit. The idea was to make a simple syrup with zest in it and use that to sweeten the lemonade instead of plain sugar. A way to get that sweet, fruity actual lemon flavor into lemonade? Outstanding.

While this is still not as quaffable as Guatemalan lemonade, it comes closer. A lot closer. Close enough that I’m proud to serve it up whenever friends come over and sometimes, just because. (It also has the advantage of fully dissolved sugar, so you don’t get that last super-sweet, semi-crunchy gulp that you do when you just add sugar to cold water.)

Summer’s Best Lemonade – serves 4-6

  • 5 lemons
  • 3/4 to 1 cup sugar, depending on your sweet tooth
  • 3/4 cup water
  • 3-5 cups cold still or sparkling water*

Zest all five lemons over a small bowl. Be careful to get none of the white, bitter pith.

Bring water and sugar to a simmer in a small saucepan. Once sugar is dissolved, turn off the heat and dump in the lemon zest, stirring a bit to make sure it’s all wet. Let it sit until it’s cooled to room temperature, then strain. Meanwhile, juice the zested lemons.

Dump the juice and zest syrup into a pitcher. Add cold water to taste. Stir well – the syrup will tend to fall to the bottom. Serve over ice.

* I think sparkling water makes it more festive – and you’ve gone to all this trouble already, so why not? – but drink it right away because it goes flat in the fridge.

2 Responses to “Summer’s best lemonade”

  1. Liz Says:

    YUM! Now I really can’t wait to come and visit you again. 😉
    Not that there weren’t already good reasons!

  2. Martha Says:

    Every one liked it they even ate mii lemonz :lol::smile::cry:

Leave a Reply

XHTML: You can use these tags: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>

:mrgreen: :neutral: :twisted: :shock: :smile: :???: :cool: :evil: :grin: :oops: :razz: :roll: :wink: :cry: :eek: :lol: :mad: :sad: