Ever had lemonade so sour your whole face puckers?
Or lemonade so sweet it’s sickly?
Wondering why I’m posting a recipe for lemonade in the middle of winter?
Because I live in sunny Southern California and the weather is a whopping 80 degrees today…by the ocean, nonetheless.
Feels like summer, so it feels like lemonade. And we have a prolific tree in our backyard laden with lemons. Made sense to me to have ice-cold, lip-smacking lemonade in the middle of winter. So there you have it.
I haven’t always had a grasp on making perfect lemonade.
Case in point: A couple years ago, I was trying to make lemonade for a summer party at our house and had to keep adding sugar to lessen the excessively tangy taste–like not once, not twice, not three times; truthfully, I lost count of how many times I had to keep playing with the mix. Thankfully, one of my sister-in-laws served as my taste tester. That whole experience left me wondering, “Wasn’t there a magic formula for the perfect lemonade?”
Why, yes! And what is the resource that is ALWAYS spot on with magic formulas for the kitchen? America’s Test Kitchen!
Last summer America’s Test Kitchen posted a recipe for lemonade on its weeky e-newsletter, and I made it with my nephews when they came over for dinner and Lightning Thief movie night.
I sent the boys to the backyard to pick some lemons from our tree, and after we polished off the first batch of lemonade within minutes, they flew back outside to pick more lemons for a second batch.
The secret to this recipe? The oil from the lemon rind. The recipe calls for slicing a lemon and smashing it into the sugar to release the lemon oil. AMAZING results! Plus, this recipe has the magic ratio of lemon juice and water to sugar, creating a beverage with the perfect combo of lip-smacking tang and simple sweetness.
Without further ado, I present the best, tastiest, perfectly tangy, and deliciously sweet Lip-Smacking Lemonade:
- 1 large lemon, thinly sliced, ends discarded
- 1 1/2 cups sugar
- 7 cups cold water
- 2 cups fresh lemon juice (takes 6-12 lemons, depending on size and juiciness; also, roll lemons on counter to make them juicier)
- Using a potato masher, mash lemons and sugar in a deep bowl until slices release their juice and sugar begins to dissolve.
- Stir in water and lemon juice until sugar completely dissolves.
- Strain out lemon slices and chill or pour over ice before serving.
- Store the lemonade in a covered container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.