Lemonade is the perfect summer obsession for me. When it gets hot and humid in Philly the feels like temperature can reach over 100 degrees. Air conditioning and lemonade are my two go to methods for surviving on days like that.
I’ve tried a number of recipes for lemonade over the years and until recently hadn’t settled on one in particular. Some recipes ask for muddling lemons while others merely mention combining lemon juice, water, and simply syrup together. My thought was to integrate the process by infusing the simply syrup with the lemon oils rather than go through the process of muddling. This produces a less floral lemonade than if you muddle the lemons but is much easier and produces a more subtle result – which I appreciate.
My second idea was to add an herb to the lemonade to complicate the flavor. Again being subtle was key so I decided to infuse an herb into the syrup in the same step as the lemon peel. Infusing is a matter of personal taste and entirely controllable by how long you steep the peel and herbs.
The Recipe – makes around 9 cups of lemonade
10-12 lemons, juiced and strained – 2 cups of lemon juice
2 cups of white sugar
2 cups of water, for the simply syrup
5 cups of water, straight into a pitcher
Lemon Peel, from about 4-5 lemons
Two large sprigs Rosemary
Add the 2 cups of water and sugar to a small saucepan. Peel 4 or 5 lemons with a hand peeler – try to get just the yellow and less of the white pith underneath. Add the lemon peel and two sprigs of rosemary and put the pan aside. It will take much longer to prepare the lemon juice than it will to make simple syrup!
Next take a strainer and put it over a two cup pyrex. Juice the lemons, straining any seeds and pulp out. This is the hardest part of making lemonade and made me wish I had a juicer to help with the process. Two cups of lemon juice is my limit – anything more and I think I would have to get a juicer to save myself a lot of time.
Next combine the lemon juice and the rest of the water in a large pitcher. You can refrigerate this while you finish off the simple syrup. You are going to heat up the water/sugar/lemon peel/rosemary pan over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally until the sugar is dissolved. I let it steep for a minute or two after the sugar is dissolved in order to infuse the rosemary and lemon oils.
Strain the lemon peel and rosemary out of the simple syrup – pouring the syrup directly into your waiting pitcher. You can either serve the lemonade over ice to cool it down quickly – refrigerate it until the entire pitcher is cold, or both. I like doing both. This lemonade is tart, complex, and refreshing!