There’s nothing like an ice-cold glass of lemonade to quench your thirst and cool you down on a hot summer day… except a perfect glass of ice-cold lemonade you made with your own two hands instead of from a can from the freezer. And it just happens that there are so many ways to make a perfect glass of homemade lemonade, you can pick and choose the right ones for you.
1. Get ripe lemons
Ripe lemons have a mostly uniform bright yellow color. They aren’t pale and have no green. And avoid any lemons that seem mushy or have brown spots.
2. Consider Meyer lemons
Meyer lemons are a cross between lemons and mandarin oranges and are slightly sweeter than regular lemons. You can go all Meyer lemon or use a combo of Meyer and regular.
3. Buy more than you need
Always buy more lemons than you think you need. The amount of juice varies, and you can always use the extra to garnish lemonade, water or cocktails.
4. You can’t cold-press lemons
Get the most juice from your lemons by using them at room temperature or microwaving them for about 20 seconds.
5. You can always get more juice
Even if your lemons are room temperature, rolling them on the counter with a firm pressure will break down the structure and let you get more juice.
5. No juicer? No problem
If you don’t have a real juicer, don’t sweat it. You can get tons of juice out of your lemons by squeezing the halves between the pincers. Stabbing it with a fork and squeezing through it will help the process along.
6. Seeds suck
Squeeze your lemons into the container over a strainer to make sure your straw sucks, but your lemonade doesn’t.
7. Use the right sugar
Simple syrup is best for sweetening lemonade because of how well it dissolves. Otherwise, use pure cane or superfine sugar.
8. Flavor your sugar
You can use herbs, spices, fruits or even flowers to add flavor to your simple syrup. Here are 12 simple syrup recipes to inspire you.
9. Water quality is key
If your water tastes bad, your lemonade will too. Make sure to use filtered water.
10. Or use the water to add depth
You can also make your lemonade with a complementary herbal tea or flavor-infused water.
11. Lemonade isn’t necessarily a one-fruit game
You can also add flavor by adding other fruits or fruit purées. Lime is the most common (and called limeade), but you can add other fruit, like grapefruit or berries. If you add purée, you probably won’t have to add as much sugar — maybe none at all.
12. Make lemonade ice cubes
After you make your lemonade but before you serve it, freeze some into ice cubes. That way your lemonade won’t get watered down as the cubes melt.
13. Chill with frozen fruit
Instead of cooling with ice cubes, try spooning in some frozen fruit.
14. What about that herb?
You can also use herbs to add extra depth to your lemonade while providing a beautiful garnish by muddling with fresh herbs like basil, rosemary, mint and more.
15. Don’t forget to garnish
Even if you don’t use herbs, garnish your lemonade with lemon twists, wedges or wheels.
16. Cute straws make it taste better… really!
OK, probably not really, but it’s so much more fun to drink it through a Krazy Straw, right?