August 20th is National Lemonade Day (National Watermelon Day is August 3rd). If the only lemonade you drink comes from a bottle, you’ve never experienced real lemonade
(We give a waiver to Mike’s Hard Lemonade, a line of carbonated, flavored malt liquor drinks in a dozen or so flavors. It’s not lemonade per se, but we’re fans.)
Bottled lemonade drinks are not only pasteurized, which kills the fresh flavor; but typically use reconstituted lemon juice, which, of course, totally kills off the bright lemon flavor of fresh-squeezed juice.
Lemonade “made from concentrate” and sold in cartons like orange juice is the far better choice, as are cans of frozen lemonade concentrate.
But the best choice of all is to squeeze fresh lemons. It takes just five minutes to make a single glass, and you can adjust the sweetening to your own taste.
While plain fresh-squeezed lemonade is wonderful in of itself, it’s even more wonderful when you add a bit of glamour.
FOR A LEMONADE PARTY BAR
We leave our pitchers of lemonade unsweetened to accommodate every preference.
For a party, set up a bar where guests can add their own sweeteners—agave, honey, noncaloric sweetener, superfine sugar or simple syrup.
You can buy or easily make the latter two, which, unlike table sugar, dissolve easily in cold drinks.
Make superfine sugar by pulsing table sugar in a food processor or blender.
Make simple syrup by heating sugar in water until it dissolves (recipe).
For adults, bottles of gin, tequila or vodka expand the options.
Provide some of the flavors and garnishes that follow.
LEMONADE RECIPE TIPS & TRICKS
1. Make Fancy Ice
Freeze lemonade into ice cubes: Melting lemonade “ice” won’t dilute the drink.
Add a garnish to each ice cube compartment: a piece of citrus peel, a mint leaf, a cherry (dried, fresh or maraschino).
Crack the ice cubes into smaller pieces with an ice crusher. Some people own ice crushers or blenders that crush ice; we use a manual tool like this.
Hold the ice cube in your hand and hit it with the crusher end. (NOTE: Smaller pieces of ice melt faster than whole cubes, so if your lemonade is at room temperature, you’ll want to keep the ice cubes whole.)
Float: Add scoops of sorbet to a tall glass of watermelon lemonade. We couldn’t find watermelon sorbet, so we tried lemon, orange and raspberry. They all work.
Slushie: The same ingredients as a float plus ice cubes/cracked ice, lightly pulsed in a blender.
Fruit Soup: For a refreshing dessert or snack, dice or slice any fresh fruits and place them in a mound in the center of a soup bowl. Pour the lemonade (plain or flavored)around the fruit. Garnish with optional chopped mint or basil.
2. Other “Formats”
3. Flavored Lemonade
You can flavor the lemonade or set out a “flavor bar” so guests can add their own:
Fruit Juice: blueberry juice, cherry juice, lime juice, pomegranate juice.
Fruit Purée: berry purée, mango purée, peach purée.
Flavored sweeteners: Infuse simple syrup with fruit juice (blueberry, raspberry, strawberry), sliced chiles. ginger, organic lavender, etc.
Flavored spirits: Spirits: flavored rum, Limoncello or other fruit liqueur, saké, tequila, vodka.
For a zero-calorie drink, use non-caloric sweetener.
For a low-glycemic drink, use agave nectar.
Varying the garnishes makes the recipe “new” each time.
Fresh herbs: basil, mint, rosemary, e.g.
Wheels or wedges: cucumber, lemon, lime, orange
If you don’t want to squeeze lemons every time you feel like lemonade, you can do a “bulk squeeze” and freeze the lemon juice in ice cube trays.
Or, do what our busy mom did and stir a heaping spoon of frozen lemonade concentrate into ice water.
Here’s what you need for a 64-ounce pitcher.
6. One Glass Or One Pitcher
Frozen Lemonade Recipe
Lavender Lemonade Recipe
Peach Lemonade Recipe
Raspberry Lemonade Smoothie Recipe
Red, White & Blueberry Lemonade Recipe
Sparkling Melon Lemonade
Spicy Lemonade Recipe
Strawberry Basil Lemonade Recipe
Watermelon Mint Lemonade Recipe
RECIPES: FLAVORED & SPECIALTY LEMONADE
Blueberry Lemonade Cocktail Recipe
Fizzy Sambuca Lemonade Recipe
Lemonade 485 Cocktail Recipe
Limoncello Lemonade Recipe
London Lemonade (Gin Cocktail)
Saké Lemonade Recipe
Tequila Lemonade Recipe
ADULT LEMONADE RECIPES
 Add your favorite flavor counterpoints, from berries to cucumber. Muddle as desired (photo courtesy True Food Kitchen | Facebook).
 Some like it hot: They can add some jalapeño slices or other hot and spicy ingredients (photo courtesy Melissa’s).
 Add a tart-and-sweet rim: lemon or lime zest, plain or mixed with sugar (photo courtesy Saint Marc Pub-Café).
 Garnish with your favorite herbs. We like the counterpoint of basil, mint or rosemary (photo courtesy Fig & Olive).
 Toss berries and herbs into the pitcher (photo courtesy Cocina De Color Lila).
 Summer’s fresh blackberries or huckleberries are another great lemonade pairing (photo courtesy Izakaya Den | Denver).