The brief season of Lemonade is finally here, and I’m not talking about the months of fanning out and hot sauce in bags since the release of Beyonce’s latest album. I mean the odd week or day or two here and there during the Irish summer when you forget that you are actually in Ireland. The sun comes out and people go feral for 99 ice-creams and beach balls. During a mini heatwave last month that almost lasted an entire weekend, it was reported that the Irish economy spent in excess of €100 million on sun tan lotion alone. But instead of buying into the hype or frenzy, why not make the more economical decision to pick up some lemons and sugar and make some lemonade? It really is so relaxing to spend a sunny afternoon outside with a book or magazine and a cool glass of icy lemonade.
For some reason, good lemonade seems to be unavailable to buy in Ireland. In America it was all I drank! But here, if you order a lemonade in a bar or restaurant, you’ll be served 7up! Which probably has as much lemon in it as the tap water.
All good lemonade needs simple syrup, equal weights of sugar and water heated in a pot until the sugar completely dissolves and the syrup turns clear. This is because, unlike your tea and coffee, sugar will need a lot of stirring to dissolve in cold liquids so it’s best to make up this sugar solution which mixes instantly. It is worth making this in big batches and keeping it in the fridge. It will last forever and can be used for cocktails or iced coffees. It takes no time at all to make and why not try infusing it with other aromatics? I once made coconut lemonade by adding 200 g of desiccated coconut to the sugar and water as it was heating and the result was delicious! You need to sieve it twice though. Once when it comes off the heat and again when it has cooled completely or chilled. This is because it will look like a scum has formed but its actually the coconut oil that has solidified. No harm in it at all but it looks awful. You could try adding a cinnamon stick or some strawberries to give your lemonade a pink strawberry hue. Raspberries would be delicious too or elderflowers if you can find them. What is also amazing is Limeade! The juice of 6 limes, 750 ml of water and 300 ml of simple syrup.
The video recipe was for a huge pitcher so quantities were halved in the recipe below:
- 300 g caster sugar
- 300 ml water
- 450 ml simple syrup
- the juice of 4 and a half lemons, the remaining half can be sliced for garnish
- 1.5 L water
- Add the sugar and water to a pot and heat until the sugar has dissolved and the syrup is clear. Remove from the heat and allow to cool completely.
- Juice 4 and half lemons and add the juice to a large pitcher along with the cooled syrup and 1 and a half litres of water. Stir well and garnish with the remaining half a lemon, sliced.
- Serve in glasses over lots of ice.