At a backyard summer cookout with barbequed ribs or chicken, creamy potato and pasta salads, and other rich, spicy food, you need something tart and thirst-quenching to refresh your palate. For me, that means fresh lemonade. This recipe was my grandmother’s. She used to make it for us by the gallon almost every day in the summer.
The time-consuming part of this recipe is juicing the lemons. To extract as much juice from them as possible, Grandma used to give the lemons a quick dip in boiling water to soften them. Today, 10 – 15 seconds in the microwave will achieve the same results. Don’t give them too much time in the microwave or they’ll be too hot to handle.
For a backyard barbeque, I like to serve the lemonade in a pint-sized Ball jar and garnish with a thin slice of lemon and a sprig of fresh mint.
Shindigz has pint sized Ball jars with handles for your lemonade!
Best Ever Lemonade Recipe
1 ½ to 2 cups sugar (depending on how sweet you want your lemonade)
1 to 2 cups of boiling water
3 or 4 mint leaves
1 gallon cold water
2 cups fresh-squeezed lemon juice (12 to 16 lemons)
2 lemons, sliced very thin, for garnish
Additional mint sprigs, for garnish
Add the sugar and mint leaves to the boiling water and stir until the sugar is completely dissolved. Set it aside to cool to room temperature. Remove and discard mint leaves.
Meanwhile, juice the lemons. I use an old-fashioned hand juicer to accomplish the task, and it me about 20 minutes to juice all the lemons. Pour the lemon juice and minty sugar water into a big glass pitcher. Add a gallon of cold water. Place in the refrigerator until well chilled.
Serve over ice and garnish with a thin slice of lemon and a sprig of mint. If you’d like to turn the lemonade into an “adult” beverage, pour a shot of vodka into the ice-filled glass before you add the lemonade.
This recipe will make approximately six servings, more if you use smaller glasses.
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Candace Schuler comes from a long line of foodies. Her grandmother taught her about planting, preserving, and cooking whole foods. Her father was a professional chef who taught her all about the importance of presentation and how to cook for big crowds. Her brothers have spent years in the restaurant business, and she and her sister constantly trade recipes via email for everything from fermented fruit kimchee to the perfect cheesecake. Candace is also a professional writer, which, she says, makes writing about party-worthy recipes for Shindigz the perfect gig. Contact her at www.CandaceSchuler.com