This wonderful and unusual recipe has it's origins in a trashy romance novel. Yes, I know it's shocking to think that I would read such things, but on occasion I have been known to peruse the pages of one of those thick paperback books with a cheesy photo on the cover. As is consistent with a life time of reading books with prominent food scenes: I don't remember the name of the book or almost anything about the story except that the woman in it wanted to own a cafe (big surprise I picked that book right?) and in a scene about half way through the book she makes the man whose heart she wants to win, this amazing lemonade. Now, this is not your average lemonade, she made it using the whole lemon, skin and all, and the recipe was described in such detail and with such ease, that I imagined it must have been the author's old family recipe handed down from generation to generation....
I never took the time to research whether this recipe was a result of the author's imagination or a real-life regional signature beverage, but it is always a smash hit at a summer party, so I just revel in the discovery of it and am thankful I bought that trashy novel in an airport bookstore so many years ago. I don't remember the exact measurements used in the book, just the general idea, but it always seems to turn out well. Just chop up some lemons or limes, throw them into a blender with some sugar and water, blend the heck out of it and strain off the juice from the pulp. What results is an incredible mix of sweet, sour and bitter. There is a heightened citrus flavor from the oils in the peel, and the slight bitter taste from the pith adds depth and interest without being overpowering. It is incredible just poured over ice, but would be fabulous with mint, seltzer or if you drink alcohol, it would take well to spiking. This is truly a summer time jem, so try it out now before summer is gone and the craving for lemonade is but a fuzzy memory.
4 lemons or limes, cut into eighths.
3/4 -1 cup sugar
4-6 cups water (more if you like)
- Put lemon or lime pieces into a blender with 3/4 cup sugar and as much water as will fit. Blend on high speed until the fruit is chopped into small pieces.
- Place the mesh strainer over a pitcher (or a bowl if that is easier for you) and pour out the contents of the blender into the strainer. Return the fruit pulp to the blender and add the remaining water. Pulse and blend again for a few seconds to extract more flavor from the fruit. Strain the pulp through the mesh sieve again and mix all the juice together.
- Taste the juice and adjust the sweetness if necessary. Serve over ice with a slice of lemon or lime, or muddle with mint if you like. A Splash of seltzer would also turn this into a fabulous spritzer. Serve immediately or refrigerate for up to 24 hours.
Discover any great new beverages this summer?