Lemonade is the perfect thirst quencher during hot summers. But if you live in an area where you can grow lemons, by the time summer rolls around, you have long ago picked the last of the lemons. So in the winter, pick as many lemons as you possibly can, zest and juice them, and then freeze your labor for summertime use.
For the simple syrup:
- 1 cup water
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 cup fresh lemon juice
- 4 cups cold water
- Ice cubes
- 1 lemon, thinly sliced and seeded
To make the simple syrup, in a small saucepan, combine the water and sugar, stir to combine and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce the heat to medium and simmer for 5 minutes. Pour into a heatproof container, let cool completely and refrigerate until thoroughly cold. You should have 1 1/4 to 1 1/2 cups. It will keep indefinitely in the refrigerator.
To make the lemonade, pour the lemon juice into a 2 1/2-quart pitcher and add simple syrup to taste. If you are using a sweet lemon, such as a Meyer, you will need less syrup. Add the cold water, stir to blend and then add ice. Pour into tall glasses, garnish with the lemon slices and serve. Serves 6.
Adapted from Williams-Sonoma Family Meals, by Maria Helm Sinskey (Oxmoor House, 2008).