For years now, I have been making home-made lemonade. There is nothing like fresh-pressed lemons, or even the bright smell of lemons on your hands after you’ve squeezed a half-dozen of those bad boys. I was first inspired to try this by Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall’s excellent River Cottage series. The recipe he provides, and which I’ve reproduced in my own form below, is genius because it makes great tasting lemonade, and also because one can add his or her own twists to this classic drink.
- 6 organic lemons
- 3/4 cups of sugar (more if you like your lemonade sweet, or if your lemons are unusually tart)
- 1 cup of boiling water
- 3 cups of cold water (or less if you want a more concentrated lemonade)
First, wash away the wax on the outside of your lemons. I like to dampen my hands with water ever so slightly, take a big handful of salt, and then rub/clean the lemons. The salt is rough enough to remove the wax without damaging the skin of the lemons.
Next, grate away the outside of lemons and put what you get in a big bowl. After you’re done that, cut your lemons in half, squeeze every bit of juice out of them (with a juicer, or by hand) and put the juice in with the grated lemon skins.
Dump in your sugar and then your cup of hot water. Mix well to help the sugar dissolve in the liquid. Let everything steep for about 30 minutes. Strain the mixture to get rid of any of the rind/skin and skin. What you will have is a lemonade base. This is a beautiful thing, and you can do a number of things with it.
You can add the 3 cups of water I mentioned above, to make your garden variety lemonade. If you want to make your lemonade more fizzy, add some Sprite or 7-Up instead of the water. If you want it fizzy but less sweet, add some San Peligrino or other carbonated water instead of the water. You can also add booze (Bourbon, Gin, and Vodka mix happily with the mix), or you can infuse your drink with mint, elder flowers, or other delicious fruits.
The only thing I would really recommend is that before your put in your water/Sprite/carbonated water/booze into the steeped mix, you should put in a little less than you think you’ll need. The reason is that you’ll likely put in some ice cubes when you serve the drink, and these will melt and dilute your drink. It’s always easy to add more water, but once it’s in you’re stuck with it. Then again…you can always add some more of the concentrate. Enjoy!