What with high temperatures beating records all over the place, I thought a cool, refreshing recipe was in order.
Today, I bring you Ginger Lemonade.
I have no idea where I got this recipe; most likely I conflated a few and finally wrote it down. It’s easy (and inexpensive) enough to make throughout the summer, and it’s equally refreshing on its own or when combined with several choices of alcohol. Don’t let the number of steps dissuade you – I was trying to be thorough in my explanations.
5-6 lemons (you’ll need juice and zest)
3 oz. candied ginger (about 20 quarter-sizes pieces)
2/3 – 3/4 Cup sugar
2 trays worth of ice cubes
Citrus squeezer (or you can squeeze by hand if you prefer)
Teakettle (or other water boiling apparatus)
Liquid measuring cup that can take boiling water
Big glass mixing bowl that can take boiling water
Blender or Food Processor
A 2-Quart pitcher
1. Make sure you actually have the 2 trays worth of ice cubes in your freezer. Got’em? Good. Leave them there for now.
2. Set your water to boil – you’ll need at least 4 Cups, but we measure later.
3. Roll your lemons against the counter a bit to soften them.
4. Carefully use the paring knife to zest long pieces from 3 of the lemons. If you happen to get too much pith, you can slice/scrape it away with the knife. Put the zest in the bowl.
4a. If you are not confident in your knife skills, use a zester or microplane instead.
5. Chop your ginger (1/4″ strips is good), and add it to the bowl.
6. Once your water has boiled, carefully measure 4 Cups into the bowl with the zest and ginger. Allow to steep 20 minutes.
7. Meanwhile, juice your lemons into the pitcher. You can strain out the pulp if you like, I happen to like pulp. Just not the seeds.
8. Once the steeping is complete, use a slotted spoon to transfer the solids to your blender. Add about 2 Cups of the liquid – which is still plenty hot, so be careful – and lid up.
9. Blending hot liquids can be dangerous. Hold the lid in place with a folded dishtowel and use the LOWEST speed to give the ingredients a whirl. Once everything is in a nice, steady motion (after 10-15 seconds), you can increase the speed by 1 or 2 notches. No need to go faster than that. Blend until it’s pretty pulverized.
10. Pour the blendified goodness through the mesh strainer and into the pitcher. Carefully pour the rest of the steeping liquid through the bits to capture all the tastiness. Smush the bits with a spoon or measuring cup for maximum extraction.
12. Add your sugar and stir until dissolved.
13. Add your ice cubes, and top with enough water to reach the full 2-Quart mark. Stir.
14. Set in your refrigerator for a couple of hours.
15. Add some fresh ice to a glass and enjoy your tasty reward!
Hint: fill an ice tray with the lemonade mix, and your beverage won’t get diluted!
If you happen to have popsicle molds, this recipe lends itself to frozen treats too, with minor alterations:
Increase sugar to 1 1/4 Cups, and don’t add more water after the ice cube addition. You still want the liquid to be cold, so refrigerate at least 4 hours before you pour it into the molds and freeze. The ginger flavor will be less pronounced in the frozen version, but you can goose it up if you add a couple bags of ginger tea to your steeping mix (remove before blending, please).
There are plenty of choices if you want to make this into an alcoholic libation; many spirits pair well with lemon. Be as fancy as you like – Delish has a number of suggestions if you want some inspiration. Me? I just add a shot of rum. Rum and citrus are totally BFFs.
Hope this helps you beat the heat!