Sparkling Mint Lemonade
Lemonade is a welcome drink when springtime temperatures start to rise. Choose lemons that are plump and firm. Before juicing each lemon, press and roll it firmly against a work surface to break some of the membranes holding the juice.
- 2 cups sugar
- 4 lemon peel strips, each 3 inches long, plus 12 lemon slices for garnish
- 4 large fresh mint sprigs, plus 12 small sprigs for garnish
- 1 1/2 cups fresh lemon juice (8 to 10 lemons)
- 3 bottles (each 24 fl. oz.) sparkling water, chilled
- Ice cubes as needed
In a saucepan over medium heat, combine the sugar with 2 cups tap water and the lemon peel. Bring to a boil, stirring to dissolve the sugar, and boil for 1 minute. Remove from the heat, stir in the 4 large mint sprigs, and let stand for 30 minutes to infuse the syrup with the mint. Discard the mint sprigs. Strain the syrup through a fine-mesh sieve into a small pitcher or bowl. Stir in the lemon juice and refrigerate until cold.
Just before serving, transfer the syrup mixture to 1 or 2 pitchers or a large punch bowl, add the sparkling water and stir well. Add ice cubes. Serve in tumblers and garnish each serving with a lemon slice and a mint sprig. Serves 12.
Adapted from Williams-Sonoma Entertaining with the Seasons (Free Press, 2010).