Classic Lemonade (with three variations)

Many recipes call for simply mixing sugar, juice and water.  This just doesn’t work for us.  The sugar crystals never fully dissolve, but who wants to go out and buy superfine sugar on top of what you already have?  What works much better is to make simple syrup (we’re talking super simple the way we do it) by mixing warm water and sugar together.  Most recipes also call for white sugar, but since we’re into less processing whenever possible, we like to use organic turbinado or raw sugar.  This type of sugar has a slightly stronger flavor and darker color than its more processed cousin, and if you don’t like that, just use standard granulated sugar instead.

Be sure to taste this recipe as you go – some like their lemonade to be on the sweeter side and if this is the case, simply make a little more simple syrup.  If the reverse is true, just juice more fruit.  We enjoy our lemonade the classic way, on ice – it can’t be beat on a hot day.   But we also love to add mint or ginger on occasion for variety.


  • 1 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1/2 to 3/4 cup sugar (or to taste)
  • 2 cups crushed ice
  • 3 cups water
  • Optional additions:
  • Fresh mint
  • Ginger root, peeled
  • Hulled strawberries, puréed in a food processor or blender


  1. Make simple syrup by heating about 1 cup of the water in a teakettle until it’s hot, but not boiling.  Add to a pyrex-type glass measuring pitcher along with the sugar.  Stir mixture until sugar is completely dissolved.  Cool for 5-10 minutes.
  2. Combine simple syrup, lemon juice, ice and remaining water in a large pitcher.  Stir. Taste mixture for sweetness – adding more simple syrup for a sweeter drink, or more lemon juice for tartness.  Garnish with slices of lemon if you like.
  3. Serve over ice.
  4. For mint variation – mince 2-3 tablespoons (or more/less to taste) mint leaves and add to the pitcher at the last minute before serving and stir.
  5. For ginger variation – mince 2 tablespoons (or more/less to taste) peeled ginger root.  Add to pitcher and stir.  Refrigerate for at least one hour (and preferably longer) to allow flavors to meld.  Stir again just before serving.
  6. For strawberry variation – add puréed strawberries, to taste, to the pitcher and refrigerate for 15 minutes.  Just before serving add 1 tablespoon finely chopped mint, if desired.  Stir and serve.
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