Monday, October 3, 2011

Homemade Lemonade

I know summer is over, but I have to share! This is my FAVORITE lemonade. In High School (and let’s face it, college) I was obsessed with Minute Maid Light Lemonade. I’ve never been a fan of really sweet lemonade and the light version was great. However, it still always had that slight “diet” taste. You know what I’m talking about.  Luckily, I discovered this recipe in this cookbook at Ross! Don’t you just LOVE Ross?!?!
Anyway, it is not way too sweet, perfectly lemony and not at all diet. Plus, it makes me feel like a fancy pants. 

Homemade Lemonade
As with all the best lemonades, all you need is:
2/3 Cup of Water
½ Cup FRESH Lemon Juice (Don’t use that stuff you get in the little plastic lemon containers). This equals about 4-6 lemons, or 2-3 if you have awesomely huge lemons like the tree in my backyard grew when I was a kid.
6 Tbps Sugar
1 tsp Grated Lemon Rind, or about the zest of one lemon
 First, zest your lemon. A microplane works beautifully for this!
Grab a small saucepan and pour the water into it
Then pour in your sugar. Look at all those sweet sugar crystals! Mm!
 Add your Lemon Zest and stir it all up! You’ll want to heat this to boiling, and then let it boil for 5 minutes, stirring the whole time. You might want to turn on some music and dance while you stir for a full-body workout, rather than just strength training in your one stirring arm.
After the 5 minutes of boiling, your sugar should be all dissolved, the lemon zest should be annihilated and there should be a wonderful lemon-infused simple syrup going on. Remove from heat and let cool to room temp. While it’s cooling, cut up your lemons! (I only ended up using 4 lemons, or 8 halves, but I cut 2 extra because I like to have fresh lemon juice in my fridge to use for something else later.)
Grab one of the lemon halves and cut off a couple slices. Set those aside in the fridge for now.
Now, using your awesome electric juicer (or an ancient manual one like mine) juice up those puppies until you have ½ Cup.  Side note- Please don’t juice actual puppies. Just the lemons.
 Once your simple syrup has cooled and you've juiced the lemons, pour the lemon juice into the syrup and stir it up.
 Grab a pitcher and a fine mesh strainer. Pour your lemon juice mixture through the strainer into the pitcher (to remove any chunks of pulp or sneaky seeds.) Here's where patience comes into play. Place the pitcher in the fridge for TWO HOURS! You want it nice and chilled.
 Once you've waited those loooong two hours (I did the dishes. What did you do?), set up your drink assembly station. You will need:
A drinking glass (this recipe only makes enough for 2 good size drinks, so double or triple if necessary)
Small plate or bowl
Ice cubes
Lemon Slices
 Pour some sugar onto your plate. Run the lemon slices around the rim of your glass and then dunk the glass into the sugar. Move it around to make sure it's nice and coated with sugar around the rim.
Doesn't this look so professional?!
Next, toss in some ice cubes. This is where it get's tricky. You need 1 part lemon juice to 3 parts water. I used 1/3 Cup lemon juice and 1 Cup of water. The original recipe actually calls for sparkling water but i've yet to try that. Sounds good though! Garnish with a lemon slice, grab your glass, put your pinky up like a real fancy pants, and drink up!

Extra Notes: If this isn't sweet enough for you, go ahead and add more sugar at the beginning. And then call your dentist. If you want, you can also just add water to your pitcher and keep in the fridge. I don't know how long it lasts, though, because I always drink it immediately. I can't help myself. :)

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