It couldn’t be easier to make delicious homemade fresh lemonade — and it’s oh-so-much better tasting than anything you mix up from a powder.
The key to making drinks on the fly is to always have a batch of simple syrup in your fridge. I’ve seen a lot of ratios ad recipes for simple syrup — which is essentially sugar water — but I like to make it even: 1 cup water and 1 cup sugar. Put them both in a saucepan and heat over medium until just before it boils. Whisk to combine and remove from the heat to cool. Then you can store that in the fridge for months.
The ratio for lemonade is just as simple. First squeeze lemons. If you have an electric juicer, all the better. Mine broke about six months ago and I haven’t replaced it yet because this citrus squeezer tool is so easy to use:
You want 1 cup of lemon juice.
Pour that into your pitcher. Then measure out your simple syrup. The ratio is supposed to be 1 cup lemon juice to 1 cup syrup, but I go a little light on the sugar. I like it tart.
Then add water: about 4 cups. I also cheat this a little. You’re almost always going to want ice in your lemonade, and it will melt, giving you more water. I also like to add a little seltzer sometimes, giving me a fizzy lemonade.
That is it, my friends. Easy peasy.
The easiest way to remember how to make this without a recipe is the ratio: 1-1-4. 1 cup lemon juice, 1 cup simple syrup, 4 cups water. But, as I explained above, I like to tweak that. You can too. Like your lemonade sweet? Add a little more. Want some strawberries in there? Go ahead and add them. But just remember 1-1-4 and you’re golden.
First, make simple syrup. Combine 1 cup sugar and 1 cup water over medium and bring to just shy of a boil. Let cool.
1 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice (about 6 to 8 lemons)
A scant 1 cup simple syrup
3 3/4 filtered water
Combine lemon juice, water in pitcher and stir.
Add ice to a glass and pour. Top with seltzer if desired.