It’s hot outside. The weeds in my yard are in revolt and if I don’t get out there every day I’ll quickly be outnumbered. ‘Course, out in the sun, even with my ugliest sports clothes on and so much sunscreen and deodorant, I still practically pass out from dehydration when I get inside.
At some point water just isn’t refreshing enough to satisfy. Iced tea will do fine, but there is a reason why lemonade is the epitome of summer drinks. The lemon tartness clears your throat, while the sweetness soothes it, and provides some much needed energy, hydration, and improved morale.
It’s all about the balance of sweet, tart, and concentration of flavor. There are a helluva lot of variations. I’m not talking about the artificial convenience of crystal lite or mio, nor the bottled or jugged juices with their non lemon or sugar ingredients. Just straight up classic lemonade, with minimal ingredients and real juice.
Lip curlingly tart? Cavity sweet? So balanced that the nuances are lost?
Maybe that’s your jam, but I know how I like mine – almost perfectly balanced, just sweet enough to savor, with the tartness floating right above. Diluted enough to refresh, strong enough to withstand ice cubes, and ready when I want it now.
Still, we can’t all keep a pitcher in our fridge just in case. Fortunately, you can make most of the lemonade ahead of time in syrup form, and just add water when you want your citrus fix. You can store your potential 8 cups worth of summery beverage in just 2 cups of syrup – far more space efficient.
You can even toss in a 1/4 teaspoon of sea salt to add some electrolytes!
Simply Balanced Lemonade Syrup
(makes approx. 2 cups of syrup, enough for one pitcher of lemonade)
- 1/3 cup water
- 1 and 1/3 cup sugar
- 1 cup lemon juice (bottled is more than fine)
- container with a 2-cup capacity.
- In a small saucepan, bring 1/3 cup water to a boil. Have your sugar and lemon juice ready. As soon as the water’s boiling, dump in your sugar. Whisk until the sugar dissolves into the water, which will go cloudy first, then clear and shiny.
- Once the sugar has dissolved, turn off the heat. Pour in the lemon juice, whisk until well combined, and let your syrup cool.
- Let the syrup cool to lukewarm temperature, then transfer the syrup into an airtight container and put in the fridge. It will last for up to a week.
- To make lemonade, pour the syrup into a 8-cup (2 quarts) pitcher, then add 6 cups of cold water and mix. If you prefer a more concentrated flavor, use 5 cups of water. Mix well, keep covered in the fridge. Encourage everyone to drink it.