Issue 30

The Modern Lemonade Stand

The Modern Lemonade Stand

I am sure we have all worked a lemonade stand growing up with friends of ours. Mine consisted of Kool-Aid brand refreshments, whatever my friends and I could find scattered in the kitchen cupboards. We would sit and, if we were lucky, someone coming home for lunch or a jogger on our path would stop to grab a little paper cup of sugary lemonade (or whatever flavor we found). Needless to say, it was nothing special and certainly not fresh, but we were cute kids, so we would make a couple bucks (literally, probably $2-3 each).

Now I can say I no longer drink those overly sweet powdered beverages. I strictly make my citrus drinks from scratch and have been able to play around with adding different flavors to my drinks. I have come to realize that those citrus drinks, though delicious on their own, don’t have to be boring. Why not jazz them up a bit? All it takes is some citrus juice, infused syrup and a little enthusiasm.

First, let’s talk about the main ingredient, citrus. Of course, the popular summertime beverage would be lemonade. There are two popular varieties of lemons for lemonade. There is the Eureka lemon, which is your classic variety, having a distinct tart flavor. Then there is the Meyer lemon, believed to be a cross between the lemon and the mandarin orange. Meyers have a less acidic flavor and slight sweetness, as well as a beautiful deep yellow color.

If you have a sweet tooth, you could also make some orangeade this summer. The common variety found would be the Navel orange, which has a subtle tartness to it. There are also Cara Cara oranges, which have lower acidity and a slight berry note to the flavor. If you want even sweeter orangeade, Mandarins or Tangerines may be your ideal citrus to use, as they have a sweeter flavor and even lower acidity than the Cara Cara. Blood oranges would also make for a lovely, unique orangeade with their slight berry flavor and beautiful rosy color making a vibrant beverage.

Limeade is also a delicious summertime treat, however, with the current lime shortage, you may want to save this one for a special occasion. The common market variety, known as Bearss, among other names (like “expensive”), is slightly less tart than a lemon, with a slight bitter note. There are also Key limes, which are much smaller and slightly more sour and bitter.

Now that you know your options for your base, let’s talk syrup. First of all, your basic simple syrup is just equal parts sugar and water, heat up and stir to dissolve and it’s good to go. Now for the fun part, let’s add some flavor. You can add different ingredients along with the sugar and water to infuse into your simple syrup making your refreshment unique. After you allow your ingredient to infuse let your syrup cool and strain the syrup.

Your additional ingredient amount may vary, depending on the natural flavor strength of your ingredient, as well as how strong you want it to be in your final product. Here, you can add other fruits into your simple syrup. Berries work particularly well for lemonade and orangeade.

Dried flowers are also a nice addition to fresh beverages. Rose, lavender, and hibiscus are all readily available in dried form and pair deliciously with fresh citrus. Herbs are an often overlooked ingredient in refreshing beverages, and they really should be used more. Some great flavors that work wonderfully with citrus are basil, thyme, and mint.

Now that we have covered our bases, let’s make some ‘ade. This is surprisingly easy. Start with equal parts citrus juice, syrup and water. Now if you like your drinks on the sweeter end, add more syrup. If you are a fan of tart, as I am, add more citrus. I would suggest when making orangeade to add a touch of lemon juice to it, as oranges do have a fair amount of natural sweetness to them.

So, it is just a matter of figuring out what delicious ingredients you want to pair together. Maybe make your own pink lemonade with some raspberry syrup – a summertime favorite of mine is basil lemonade. If you feel like splurging, why not make Moscow limeade with some fresh ginger syrup?

Hopefully, I have brought you over to the dark side of exciting summertime refreshments. Mixone of these up for your next backyard BBQ and I can guarantee it will be a hit. These are quick and easy to do; they just simply need time to chill before your friends arrive thirsty. For your more adult gatherings, throw gin or bourbon into the mix for a delicious, refreshing cocktail to go with your kabobs on the grill. Or just keep a pitcher in the fridge with one long curly straw for your own personal enjoyment. Either way, enjoy.

 

Recipes

Basil Lemonade

4 cups fresh squeezed and strained lemon juice

4 cups water

4 cups basil syrup*

Mix all ingredients together and chill for a couple hours until cold.

Add ice and serve!

*To make basil syrup, combine 4 cups sugar, 4 cups water, and 2 cups packed fresh basil in a large pan. Bring all ingredients to a boil, stirring occasionally. Once boiling and sugar is dissolved, remove from heat and cool. Strain out basil.

Cocktail idea: Gin Basil Cooler

1 ½ oz premium gin

4 oz Basil Lemonade

Serve over ice. Basil leaf garnish.

 

Hibiscus Orangeade

3 cups fresh squeezed and strained orange juice

1 cup fresh squeezed and strained lemon juice

4 cups water

4 cups hibiscus syrup*

Mix all ingredients together and chill for a couple hours until cold.

Add ice and serve!

*Hibiscus syrup: combine 4 cups sugar, 4 cups water, and 2 cups dried hibiscus flowers in a large pan. Bring all ingredients to a boil, stirring occasionally. Once boiling and sugar is dissolved, remove from heat and cool. Strain out flowers.

Cocktail idea: Sparkling Flower

1 oz Hibiscus Orangeade

3 oz champagne

Pour orangeade into a flute, top with champagne. Garnish with a hibiscus flower canned in syrup.

Linda Lichtenwalter-Evans

Linda Lichtenwalter-Evans

Linda Lichtenwalter-Evans is a baker and bartender in the wonderful city of Omaha. She spends her days baking delicious vegan and gluten-free treats and her evenings creating unique cocktails. In her free time, she enjoys comic books, sci-fi and horror movies, and a little Mario Kart. In short, this nerd enjoys getting people fat and drunk.


Tags assigned to this article:
cocktailsdrinkinglemondadesummer

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