This is one of my favorite times of year… The season that straddles spring and summer, when the days are long and warm and my lemon tree is bursting with bright yellow ornaments. These sunshiny days simply beg for the clink of ice cubes in a mason jar and the cold sip of a fresh homemade lemonade. Preferably outside. Preferably with condensation all over your table, and you don’t even care because you’re in a carefree summer lovin’ state of mind.
I prefer Eureka lemons over Meyer lemons since I like a more acidic lemonade — tart and tangy, just like the ones I used to drink growing up. (Conveniently, I happened to move into a house with a Eureka lemon tree in the backyard.)
When I want something a little different, I’ll sub some basil in place of the rosemary. And when I want to make a spritzer, I’ll make this delicious lemon-basil syrup to keep in the fridge for those carbonated cravings (as you might have guessed, you can turn that into a lemon-rosemary syrup too).
Let’s all raise a mason jar (or a tall glass, as long as it’s icy) and count down to the dog days of summer!
Makes 2 liters
For the Syrup
1 1/2 cups water
1 cup sugar
1 to 2 large sprigs rosemary
For the Lemonade
5 to 6 lemons
5 cups water
Lemon slices (optional, for garnish)
Rosemary sprigs (optional, for garnish)
The core of any good homemade lemonade is the simple syrup. To make one, bring the water, sugar, and rosemary to a slow boil for several minutes in a small saucepan. Stir until the sugar is dissolved, then turn off the heat, cover with a lid, and let the rosemary steep.
Squeeze the juice out of 5 or 6 (more or less) lemons so you have about 1 cup of fresh juice. Eurekas will give your lemonade that traditional taste of sour lemons. Meyers will make it sweeter, so depending on your preference, you may want to add less syrup to the final concoction.
When your syrup has infused for at least half an hour, remove the rosemary sprigs, then stir the syrup and lemon juice together in a pitcher. Add water and mix well. Taste the lemonade and adjust as needed… more syrup for a sweeter flavor, or more water for a subtle tartness.
To serve, add ice, drop in a few slices of lemon and a few sprigs of rosemary, and enjoy on a sunny day while sitting in your garden!
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