Friday, July 1, 2011

My Summer Loves

Peach-Thyme Lemonade
straw hats clothes drying on a line cherries crushed ice  
children playing on the lawn fields of lavender in bloom strawberries 
soft breezes through open windows eating breakfast on the patio blackberries  
sunflowers ripe cherry tomatoes warm from the sun wearing flip flops every day
blueberries flying kites at the beach bossa nova  
farmer's markets and lemonade...  

For me nothing quenches on a hot summer day better than homemade lemonade. Lemonade redolent with fresh herbs and ripe fruits in a tall glass of ice. Pick your favorite summer flavors and customize your next pitcher or glass of lemonade.

I made two today: Triple Berry-Lavender and Peach-Thyme (that's the one in the photo)...  so now I'm going to go have a seat in the shade, put my feet up, take a long sip and remind myself that maybe, just maybe, summer isn't so bad after all.

Steeped-In-Summer Lemonade the glass or pitcher full

fresh squeezed lemon juice*
granulated sugar
fresh herbs and fruits
water (sparkling or still)
ice... lots and lots of it  

1. Make the infused simple syrup.
In a small sauce pan, add one cup of water and one cup of sugar. Bring it just to boiling (it should be clear) and take it off the heat. 

Stir in a big handful of fresh herbs (I like peppermint, lemon verbena, thyme, basil or lavender) and/or some lovely ripe summer fruits. If you use berries, be sure to crush them after you add them to the syrup. With stone fruits such as peaches, take the pit out and roughly chop the fruit first, then smash it a bit** after adding to the syrup. Put the lid on the pan and let it cool completely. 

Pour your syrup through a fine sieve into a jar and refrigerate it until you're ready to make the lemonade (it'll keep up to a week in the fridge).

2. Mix it how you like it.
Some folks like their lemonade more on the tart side, and some like it sweeter. It's all cool. This is just a starting point. Begin with this ratio and adjust it to the way you like from there by adding more lemon, syrup, or water. I like to do a 1:1:6 mixture myself (1 cup lemon juice to 1 cup syrup to 6 cups water). Since you'll be pouring it over ice on a hot day though, be sure and make it a bit stronger than you might like (you can always add more water later if you need it).

Want to make it by the glass? Easy... fill a tall glass with some ice, measure 2 Tablespoons each of the lemon juice and syrup. Then top it with 6 ounces of sparkling water.

What do you love best about summer? 

* I used Meyer lemons which are sweeter than Eurekas. With Eurekas, you may want to add more infused syrup.
**This would be a good time to get out your muddler, if you've got one, and get muddling!
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