Hot weather means cool drinks. Beer, white or rosé wine or the British favourite, Pimm’s.
Something I like a lot is traditional cloudy lemonade. When I was growing up, lemonade was the colourless, transparent fizzy drink that was sweet but didn’t seem to have a whole lot to do with lemons. Today’s recipe, however, really is a zesty, fresh, citrus drink, and given the simple ingredients, also doesn’t contain some of the nasties in commercial drinks.
What’s more, it’s quick and easy (much as I love being in the kitchen, you want to be outside when it’s sunny). You take a few fresh, unwaxed lemons, take the lemon zest and juice, and leave this to steep overnight with some hot water and sugar. Doing this with the zest means that you also get all the wonderful aromas from the lemon peel for a bit of extra zing. The next day, you just top up to taste with water (still or sparking) and allow to cool in the fridge. If you want to, you can add a sprig of mint or rosemary to the steeping infusion if you want to other aromas in there too. Enjoy in the sunshine!
For almost 2 litres:
• 5 unwaxed lemons
• 100g sugar
• water, plus more to dilute the concentrate
Wash the lemons. Using a zester, get all the yellow peel into a heatproof bowl. Zesting the peel directly into this bowl means you will get more of the lemon’s essential oils, boosting the flavour. Try to keep the amount of white pith in the zest to a minimum.
Juice the lemons, and add to the lemon zest. 5 lemons should yield 250ml of juice, but if you don’t have enough, feel free to use more lemons to top up.
Add the sugar and pour over the boiling water. Stir well, cover, and allow to sit overnight.
The next morning, strain the mixture (a kitchen sieve is fine). Dilute the mixture down according to taste – I used about 1.5 litres (almost 6 cups). Also taste the lemonade – if the lemon flavour seems too strong, you may prefer to add more sugar, or a natural sweetner such as agave syrup.
Worth making? Yes! This is a great summer drink, really easy to make, and tastes sensational compared to commercial lemonade. Be careful with the sugar, as it’s easy to add more but you can’t remove it if you go too far. Bottle it up, allow it to chill, and enjoy in the park or on your terrace.