When Life Gives You 100 Degree Days, Make Lemonade.

No, seriously. Make some lemonade, y’all.

photo credit: Muffet, Flickr Creative Commons

Has it been disgustingly hot in your part of the world this last week? We’ve been hunkered indoors for the last several days, setting up and adorning little shrines of gratitude for our air conditioning! One recipe I turn to for a bit of zippy refreshment during these hottest months of the year is my homemade lemonade.

It’s incredibly easy and inexpensive to make, requiring just a handful of ingredients. My recipe is so simple that it feels silly to even call it a recipe, honestly. I often play loose with the measurements, too, depending on how sweet or tart I’m feeling. I sweeten it with a basic simple syrup, and I’ve also included my two fave spins on simple syrup: rosemary simple syrup and ginger simple syrup!

Homemade Lemonade

  • 10 lemons (or so)
  • 10 cups of water (more or less, depending on your desired tartness)
  • 1 cup simple syrup

Juice your lemons. I like to start  by giving my lemons a good, firm roll on the counter (pushing down on them as you roll them–it makes the lemons release their juice more easily). I cut them in half and squeeze them by hand. I often will use a fork as well, twisting it around the inside the lemon half, because this helps the lemons to give up a good amount of pulp. I love pulp in my lemonade (and even an errant seed or two as well!) I think little lemony bits make your lemonade feel more rustic and homemade and, therefore, totally special.  I’ve used juicers, both manual and electric, in the past, and they are fast and efficient. Use ’em if you like ’em!

Mix all of your ingredients and chill!

Basic Simple Syrup:

  • 3/4 to 1 cup of raw sugar
  • 1 cup of water

Combine raw sugar and water in a sauce pan over moderate heat. Stir until the sugar has dissolved. Remove syrup from heat and allow it to cool.

Rosemary simple syrup variation (my FAVE!): add several springs of rosemary to your simple syrup once your sugar has dissolved. Allow to steep for at least a half an hour. Remove the sprigs before incorporating your simple syrup into your lemonade. Garnish your pitcher with additional fresh sprigs of rosemary once chilled. Dudes, this looks and tastes so fancy and impressive, I promise. Yum.

Ginger simple syrup variation: grate about two inches of peeled, fresh ginger into your sauce pan with your sugar and water. Follow the same instructions for basic simple syrup above. Allow your ginger syrup to steep for at least a half an hour. Strain your syrup through a fine mesh sieve to remove the ginger bits, and then incorporate. I found super gingery lemonade to be a refreshing and soothing tonic for morning sickness when I was pregnant with my son, and I made ginger lemonade many, many times that summer!

How are you staying cool during this blistering heat wave? What are you doing to celebrate Independence Day (besides making some kick-ass lemonade, that is)? Do you have a fave summertime drink recipe? Do share.

Rhianna lives in St. Louis, where temps topped out at a yucky, sweltering 109 degrees this past weekend, with her husband and their 18 month old son. When summertime has been especially gnarly, she likes to spike her lemonade with a good dose of sweet tea vodka–the perfect backyard cocktail.

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