Step One: Make Sugar Syrup
You can make lemonade from scratch just by adding plain sugar. However, sugar syrup dissolves more easily and won't sink to the bottom of your pitcher like regular sugar might. To make sugar syrup (also known as simple syrup), boil one cup of water, add two cups of sugar, and stir until completely dissolved. The mixture will be thick. You can store excess sugar syrup in the refrigerator for weeks.
Step Two: Select and Juice Your Lemons
You can make lemonade from scratch using bottled juice, but you'll lose much of the delicious flavor of fresh lemons if you do that. For the best possible flavor, select lemons that have a well-defined pattern on their skin and are heavy for their size. Juice them shortly before making your lemonade. To juice lemons, you can use a citrus juicer or press. If you do not have a special tool handy, however, you can extract the juice by cutting the lemon in half, sticking a fork into the exposed side of the lemon, and squeezing. Strain the juice to remove seeds and pulp; if you like the texture of pulp in your lemonade, add it after removing the seeds.
Step Three: Mix Ingredients
The basic ingredients of home-made lemonade are lemon juice, water, and sugar syrup. Although you should experiment with the proportions to get the taste you like best, a good place to start is 2 quarts cold water, 1 cup of lemon juice, and 1 cup of simple syrup. Stir well and serve chilled or over ice.
Step Four (Optional)
Experiment with Extra Ingredients If you would like to add some extra flavor to your home made lemonade, there are plenty of ways to spice things up.
- Make a refreshing cocktail by adding a splash of vodka to each glass of lemonade.
- Infuse your sugar syrup with lavender, ginger, or basil by adding spices to the mixture after cooking and allowing to cool for at least 20 minutes. Strain to remove herbs.
- Add vanilla extract or mint leaves to lemonade after mixing for a unique flavor.
- Substitute ½ cup of orange juice for ½ cup of lemonade to make orangeade.
- Add cranberry juice or grenadine to make pink lemonade.
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