Also, add gin. But not on a Thursday morning. June 24, 2010 8:38 AM   Subscribe

In the midst of the awful heat wave sweeping my chunk of the East Coast, I just want to call attention to this fabulous lemonade recipe by Elsa.

Three years ago, I read this comment and filed it away in the back of my mind. Three days ago, I thought "wow it's 98 degrees and humid, I sure wish I had a glass of lemo- wait a sec what was that recipe again?" Today I am sitting in class drinking the best lemonade I've ever had and I figured the rest of you might want to know about it.

Thanks, Elsa! Everybody else: make this dang lemonade already.
posted by showbiz_liz to MetaFilter-Related at 8:38 AM (59 comments total) 37 users marked this as a favorite

Yes! See also: popsicles.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 8:43 AM on June 24, 2010 [2 favorites]


Related enough for MetaTalk: You know what is also amazing? Salty lime soda. Can of sparkling water, juice of one lime, generous pinch of sea salt, ice. Life-changing.
posted by clavicle at 8:53 AM on June 24, 2010 [16 favorites]


Anytime I'm zesting a lemon I always remember: don't get any of the "vile pith," as Elsa put it.
posted by Jaltcoh at 8:55 AM on June 24, 2010


Well, fuck. I know what I'm making tonight.
posted by Greg Nog at 8:58 AM on June 24, 2010


Oh, I meant to add- obviously this is a lot of work to do every time you make lemonade, which is why I bought a whole bag of lemons, zested them all, made three cups of syrup with the zest, and am keeping the bag of naked lemons in the fridge to be juiced whenever I need.
posted by showbiz_liz at 9:00 AM on June 24, 2010


Cool! I have simple syrup is the fridge. Now I just have to find some decent lemons.
posted by mokeydraws at 9:01 AM on June 24, 2010


ok, that salty lime soda sounds amazing. definitely making that later.
posted by threetoed at 9:02 AM on June 24, 2010


nobody tells me when to not add gin!

...

I have no gin.
posted by boo_radley at 9:04 AM on June 24, 2010 [1 favorite]


Simple syrup is also ideal for making sweet tea.
posted by empath at 9:04 AM on June 24, 2010


Simple syrup is also ideal for making mojitos.
posted by iconomy at 9:11 AM on June 24, 2010


Why not add gin on a Thursday morning? (or any other morning, for that matter?)

Speaking of simple syrup: If i had a 1L/5cup bottle that I wanted to fill, how much water and sugar should I use if I am using the 'equal volumes' approach?

Hint: the answer is not 5 cups of water and 5 cups of sugar.

being a big nerd, I tried figuring out how to calculate this, but everything I found wants me to know molarity of sugar and stuff.
posted by ArgentCorvid at 9:11 AM on June 24, 2010


Simple syrup is also ideal for making homemade pancake syrup.

I'm not clear on how much syrup, juice and water to combine to make lemonade, though. I usually make it from concentrate, sugar and water.

Speaking of simple syrup: If i had a 1L/5cup bottle that I wanted to fill, how much water and sugar should I use if I am using the 'equal volumes' approach?

5 cups of water and 5 cups of sugar. Then pour into the bottle until it overflows, discarding the rest.
posted by DU at 9:17 AM on June 24, 2010


5 cups of water and 5 cups of sugar. Then pour into the bottle until it overflows, discarding the rest.

BUT THAT'S TOO EASY!
posted by ArgentCorvid at 9:18 AM on June 24, 2010


Bonus round: make lime simple syrup and add to Agua Frescas.

Take a mellon, chunk it up, toss it in a blender, then strain through a fine mesh sieve. The resulting juice is or diluted to taste (try 50/50) with water or sparking water, and sweeten to taste with lime simple syrup. Tastes better from mason jars.
posted by fontophilic at 9:20 AM on June 24, 2010 [4 favorites]


Simple syrup is also ideal for making mojitos

I like the way you think.
posted by empath at 9:21 AM on June 24, 2010


I'll pick some lemons of the tree and make this tonight! Although the high today is supposed to be 61. Summer in San Francisco yay.
posted by rtha at 9:26 AM on June 24, 2010


I'm not clear on how much syrup, juice and water to combine to make lemonade, though.

I've been doing: juice of half a lemon, one to two tablespoons of syrup depending on how sweet you like it, fill tall glass to halfway full with water, fill with ice. But it's obviously fuzzy.
posted by showbiz_liz at 9:31 AM on June 24, 2010


I guess while we're talking about simple syrup, now is a good time to share the recipe for a really fucking stellar cocktail from The Richardson, a bar that's near to me. Note that this recipe isn't entirely accurate; I pretty much just watched them make it enough that I got a general sense of the measurements, and I think they may be off, slightly.

The Scottish Dew:


Put about half-a-finger of maraschino liqueur in a glass, then add three or four slices of cucumber. Throw in a couple dashes of orange bitters, and maybe a tablespoon or so of simple syrup. MUDDLE IT.

Now add about three fingers of cheapish scotch, and as much ice as you like.

You will want to drink all of this immediately, as it's refreshing as HELL. But be careful! It's strong!

I know that reading this, you may be thinking: but I don't have maraschino liqueur! Or orange bitters! What do I look like, a Rockefeller?

I know. I know. But let me tell you: I bought both of those spirits SOLELY so that I could make this drink at home. It is just the greatest thing.
posted by Greg Nog at 9:37 AM on June 24, 2010 [5 favorites]


I never heard the term "simple syrup" before. I've always just called that "hummingbird food", as in "you know, if you mix a little alcohol and flavoring into this hummingbird food, it will really get you fucked up. The birds too."

Before being chastised and chased out of the aviary at the zoo.
posted by quin at 9:45 AM on June 24, 2010 [4 favorites]


It's all about switchel.

Big glass of water
spoonful of honey
spoonful apple cider vinegar
maybe a smidge of ginger

Yum.
posted by dirtdirt at 9:56 AM on June 24, 2010 [3 favorites]


If i had a 1L/5cup bottle that I wanted to fill, how much water and sugar should I use if I am using the 'equal volumes' approach?

Roughly 2 cups 7 ounces of each water and sugar.

Showing my work:
Saturated sugar syrups (about 2:1 sugar:water) have a specific gravity of about 1.3. Presumably 1:1 syrup would be close to 1.15 (assuming linearity, which probably isn't a good idea, BUT). Water has a specific gravity of 1, bagged white sugar, about 0.7.

So, conserving mass: Vρ=m (Volume times density is mass)

Vfinal × ρSyrup = VWater × ρWater + VSugar × ρSugar

Where:
Vfinal = 1
ρSyrup = 1.15
ρWater = 1
ρSugar = 0.7

and, for a 1:1 syrup,
V = VWater = VSugar

Which gives:

1 × 1.15 = V × 1 + V × 0.7

1.15 = 1.7 V

V = 1.15/0.7 = 0.68 L of water and sugar each.
That's about 2.87 or close enough to 2 7/8 cups of each.
posted by bonehead at 10:05 AM on June 24, 2010 [8 favorites]


I'm about to self-link.

I wrote a primer on kitchen chemistry with respect to mixing things and what things mix well with other things and methods of actual mixing of ingredients efficiently on my blog a couple of weeks ago. It seems like it would be relevant to this thread, and I don't particpiate in AskMe so this is where it's going.
posted by kalessin at 10:06 AM on June 24, 2010 [2 favorites]


iconomy: "Simple syrup is also ideal for making mojitos"

THIS IS VERY VERY WRONG
posted by mkb at 10:15 AM on June 24, 2010 [3 favorites]


THIS IS VERY VERY WRONG

No. It is very right. Gabe is brilliant and the writer of this article is as dumb as a box of highly abrasive sugar crystals.
(the article is very funny)

posted by iconomy at 10:20 AM on June 24, 2010


I'm not clear on how much syrup, juice and water to combine to make lemonade, though.

Start with 2 parts water to 1 part lemon juice to about 1 part simple syrup. Adjust to taste
posted by shothotbot at 10:28 AM on June 24, 2010


Pony request: an HTML equation editor.

It took 10× longer to write that than it did to figure out.
posted by bonehead at 10:33 AM on June 24, 2010


Simple syrup is ALSO also good for a frosty and refreshing mint julep.

Thanks for reminding us of this recipe; lemonade is pretty much my favorite beverage ever, and I love to make it fresh. Especially when the ambient temperature is sweaty armpit degrees.
posted by Fui Non Sum at 10:51 AM on June 24, 2010


Lemonade was strangely giving me acid reflux, I'm hoping it was just a fluke and I can drink lemonade again soon. :(
posted by Wuggie Norple at 10:53 AM on June 24, 2010


Roughly 2 cups 7 ounces of each water and sugar.

Awesome, thanks. the "5 cups of each, discard the excess" method is what I used the last time, and I was sure there was a more efficient way to do it.

and that post by kalessin looks interesting, i'll have to look at it a little more later.
posted by ArgentCorvid at 11:05 AM on June 24, 2010


Lovely! Now, does anyone have a good recipe for home-made bitter lemon drink? First experienced on a trans-Atlantic flight, then purchased at a little British import shop in California that has since gone out of business, I have come to understand it as a delicacy limited to the English, or maybe Europe at large. Can I simply add lemon oil / juice to tonic water? Or is there further magic involved?
posted by filthy light thief at 11:10 AM on June 24, 2010


Fever Tree makes a bitter lemon that is quite delicious. I've bought it at Whole Foods and BevMo in San Francisco.
posted by rtha at 11:17 AM on June 24, 2010


Simple syrup is also good in your iced coffee!
posted by mokeydraws at 11:31 AM on June 24, 2010


If we're talking Mefite drinks I want to thank crush-onastick for the ginger-rhubarb syrup recipe, becasue OH MY GOD SO GOOD. I had it plain with soda, with vodka, with vodka and soda, etc, etc. Basically it was good in everything. I encourage everyone to make some and drink it now. The end.
posted by grapesaresour at 11:36 AM on June 24, 2010 [2 favorites]


*blushes*

We've been getting through a lot of lemonade around here; I made a list of summer goals last month, and one of them was to always have lemonade, limeade, or ginger beer in the fridge. Also sparkling wine, which is going down even faster.

Bonus round: make lime simple syrup and add to Agua Frescas.

Funnily enough, fontophilic, I just improvised something very much like that for an impromptu cocktail party last week, but using lemon simple syrup! I thinned it with club soda for a little bit of fizz. My guests tell me it was very successful with tequila. It's definitely going to be a regular addition to our summer parties.

That ginger-rhubarb syrup looks FANTASTIC. Flavored simple syrups are such a nice, easy thing to keep around. They really class up a glass of seltzer, and I like to have a few bottles to add to cocktails or highballs. (In our fridge right now: lemon syrup, ginger syrup, grapefruit syrup --- so good in a glass of cheap cava! ---- and plain simple syrup.)
posted by Elsa at 11:56 AM on June 24, 2010 [2 favorites]


Lemonade was strangely giving me acid reflux, I'm hoping it was just a fluke and I can drink lemonade again soon. :(

I had similar problems with acidic foods and hoppy beers. I don't want to come off like a guest on Oprah, but in the interests of promoting the enjoyment of all manner of food and beverage, I suggest eating some yoghurt with active cultures from time to time. My theory is that the bugs in the yoghurt ward off H. pylori.
posted by exogenous at 12:00 PM on June 24, 2010


Oh, I meant to add- obviously this is a lot of work to do every time you make lemonade, which is why I bought a whole bag of lemons, zested them all, made three cups of syrup with the zest, and am keeping the bag of naked lemons in the fridge to be juiced whenever I need.

Holy heck, yes --- I should have added this obvious solution to the blog entry! I do this all the time; you can even make a slushy block of frozen lemonade concentrate to keep in the freezer. The high sugar content keeps it from freezing quite solid, so you can scoop out a spoonful or two into a glass to top up with water or seltzer. For our wedding last year, I made an enormous batch of syrup-and-juice, froze it, and reconstituted it on-site with cold water and ice.
posted by Elsa at 12:03 PM on June 24, 2010


Also, orange juice and Coke.

Also, yellow mustard on a PB&J sandwich.

Also, don't mock it until you've tried it.
posted by blue_beetle at 12:09 PM on June 24, 2010


Elsa: I love you.
posted by slogger at 12:28 PM on June 24, 2010


(In our fridge right now: lemon syrup, ginger syrup, grapefruit syrup --- so good in a glass of cheap cava! ---- and plain simple syrup.)

You're going to wake up one morning to find a whole lot of mefites camped out on your front porch/stoop if you keep saying stuff like this.
posted by rtha at 12:47 PM on June 24, 2010 [1 favorite]


We make mint lemonade in my house and let me tell you, there's not much else in this world that is as refreshing as that.

As with Elsa's recipe, make a simple syrup. (I stir my sugar when I make the syrup and it causes no problems whatsoever, FYI.)

1 cup water
1 cup sugar

Heat over medium high heat and stir occasionally until sugar is dissolved. Remove from heat and add a half a cup of fresh mint stems and all into the warm syrup and let steep for a half an hour.

In the meantime, juice 8-10 lemons, enough for 1 cup of lemon juice. Pour lemon juice and 4 cups of filtered water into a pitcher and put in the fridge while the syrup is cooling and steeping. Strain the syrup into the pitcher after it is ready and stir. DELICIOUS!!

We usually make two batches which comes out to be about a gallon after everything is added. We will often make a pitcher of sun tea and have mint lemonade arnold palmers all week.

Another great mix in is bourbon, or if you're really lucky, some Colorado blackberry whiskey.

Enjoy!
posted by Kimberly at 12:51 PM on June 24, 2010 [2 favorites]


I keep seeing Fever Tree's tonics at our local liquor emporium and they keep tempting me even though they're so dear.

I suppose, yes, I could make those things myself too. Don't know where I'd get quinine, though, for the tonic water.
posted by kalessin at 12:52 PM on June 24, 2010


I forgot a comma up there, it's a "half a cup of fresh mint, stems and all".
posted by Kimberly at 12:53 PM on June 24, 2010 [1 favorite]


You can get pure quinine sulphate through shady Canadian internet "pharmacies" like this one. Some places claim to sell Cinchona Tree bark, but I'd be more reluctant purchasing those as the dose would be pretty much unknowable.

Quinine content in tonic water is limited by US law to less than 80 mg/L, one of those 300mg pills to a gallon of water. Typical Tonic water is one-tenth that concentration, so one pill would do about ten gallons.
posted by bonehead at 1:00 PM on June 24, 2010


Thing that is good:
dice seedless watermelon into approx 1-1.5cm cubes
put in fairly large ziploc bag
add some sugar (I think the original recipe called for 1/4 cup sugar for 6 cups watermelon cubes)
add some lemon juice if you want
mix it up
put in freezer
wait until it is frozen
put in blender
blend

result: watermelon water ice.
i hear that it is good with rum. (I don't like rum)

it is best when eaten immediately because if you put it back in the freezer it solidifies too much and you lose that awesome texture.
posted by sciencegeek at 1:04 PM on June 24, 2010 [2 favorites]


sciencegeek, during a hot summer years ago, a friend taught me to make a similar slushy, fruity, not-too-sweet drink like that with a mixture of cold (but not frozen) watermelon, fresh or frozen strawberries, and a whole lot of crushed ice all zzzzzzzzipped in the blender. It's so refreshing on a hot day! (And, like fontophilic's melon agua fresca and the fizzy variation I described, probably great with either vodka or gin. Or tequila! Or rum! Or... and so on.

Kimberly, do you have any secrets to impart about your mint syrup: steeping time, or variety of mint, or anything? The only time I tried to make mint syrup, it came out tasting weirdly astringent (and, frankly, a little like pee, though I know the mint was fresh and clean). Any hints on what I did wrong? What kind of mint do you use?
posted by Elsa at 1:40 PM on June 24, 2010


Thai basil, btw, goes fantastically well with mint in a simple syrup, and is good to put on fruit salad.
posted by empath at 1:46 PM on June 24, 2010


I just made this a couple days ago, and I have three lemons sitting in my fridge. Going to make some more tomorrow.

When you zest a lemon, do you use a grater or what? Clueless college student here, so please be gentle :)
posted by yaymukund at 1:59 PM on June 24, 2010


Relevant to this discussion.
posted by ArgentCorvid at 2:12 PM on June 24, 2010


yaymukund, Some people like to use a grater. If you do, be quite careful not to go deeper than the yellow zest; the white pith is bitter and all too easy to grate off the rind. If you grate the zest, you can either leave it in the finished lemonade (which I find a little unpleasant texturally) or strain it out (by straining either the syrup or the lemonade through a fine sieve or coarse sieve lined with a piece of cheesecloth).

Instead, I like to cut the zest off in strips. Use a sharp knife to peel long strips off, then trim off and discard any little patches of pith. When the syrup is done steeping, you can lift the strips out with a fork, which saves you the trouble of straining it.

I've heard people argue that you get greater flavor with grated zest, and maybe that's correct, but I've never needed more flavor than I get with the strips of zest.
posted by Elsa at 2:16 PM on June 24, 2010


I have just discovered mint cocktail bitters and I cannot rave enough - if you like mint and it's hot out, your life will change significantly. So bracing.
So far I've only splashed it in sparkling or still water over ice, but I can't wait to try cocktails too.
posted by CunningLinguist at 2:29 PM on June 24, 2010 [1 favorite]


Elsa, I actually have just been using the bundles of organic mint that come in the little plastic boxes in the produce section of my supermarket. I tried putting in the leaves whole and the entire plant with stems and had the same result. It smelled and tasted like mild peppermint and gave just a hint of flavor. I put them in when the heat is off (and I only heat the syrup up enough to just dissolve the sugar) and the leaves turn a little brown, but never experienced any off flavors.
posted by Kimberly at 3:03 PM on June 24, 2010


Thanks, Kimberly, I'll give it another try --- maybe my bad batch was just a fluke! The idea of mint syrup was so appealing and I was quite sad it didn't work out that time. Onward!
posted by Elsa at 3:17 PM on June 24, 2010


Of course, once you add enough vodka, Country Time is good.
posted by jonmc at 4:30 PM on June 24, 2010


If you add enough vodka, anything is good. Eventually.

And then it turns bad. Eventually.

And then the police arrive. Eventually.
posted by Elsa at 4:42 PM on June 24, 2010 [4 favorites]


Good thing I bought corn whiskey instead. Really. I put it in the freezer and then mixed it with Mountain Dew on the rocks. For poetry's sake.
posted by jonmc at 4:58 PM on June 24, 2010


Simple syrup is also ideal for making rosemary infused (and alcoholic if that's how you roll) iced tea. And my favorite summer drink of all, a basil gimlet. Yum!
posted by ifjuly at 7:38 PM on June 24, 2010 [1 favorite]


Stop taunting me with your easy access to rhubarb you bastards.
posted by gomichild at 1:26 AM on June 25, 2010 [1 favorite]


Elsa is the source of many great recipes, dispensed with a little life wisdom on the side. I'd buy her cookbook!
posted by Miko at 6:24 AM on June 25, 2010


I just typed this up for a friend, so I thought I'd include here. Just made my first batch. Awesome!

The Lemonade You Deserve
Inspired by this comment by Elsa



Ingredients
8 lemons
2C granulated sugar (plus extra for the bonus round)
2C water

Process
1. Combine sugar and water in a small saucepan and bring to a boil. Do not stir. Boil until all sugar has visibly dissolved.
2. Meanwhile, using a vegetable peeler, peel the zest from the lemons in long strips, taking extra care not to get any of the white pith. Reserve zest.
3. Juice all lemons. Reserve juice.
4. Once all sugar has visibly dissolved in the water, remove from heat. Add all lemon zest and let sit until cooled to room temperature.
5. Strain lemony syrup into a storage vessel, reserving sugary zest for the bonus round. Add lemon juice. This is your lemonade concentrate.
6. Dilute concentrate water or club soda to a ratio of 5-to-1, or personal preference. Also works great with vodka, gin, bourbon or tequila.

Bonus round: candied lemon zest!
1. Take reserved sugary lemon zest strips and lay out on parchment paper.
2. Sprinkle granulated sugar thoroughly over zest, approximately 1/4C.
3. Let dry, then toss in small bowl with additional sugar.
posted by slogger at 2:53 PM on June 25, 2010 [1 favorite]


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