Lemonade is a delicious and refreshing treat on its own, but that doesn’t mean it’s above refinement. Below are our five favorite twists on this classic summer drink!
Spicing up your lemonade with another juicy citrus (lime), along with some mint leaves, is one of the best ways to bring in some summer vibes, even without the ocean and the heat. Turning your lemonade into a mojito is easy and customizable. Some might prefer the more “lemony” taste, while others want to go to town with the lime.
Make your mojito with sparkling or soda water, or even Sprite, to create a bubble effect. To make it a real mojito, you can use rum or gin. You’ll want to bump up the lemon juice ratio then, however, so it still tastes more like lemonade.
Add your lemon and lime juice, desired amount of sugar (or omit), and liquid of choice to a pitcher. Throw in some ice cubes and a handful of mint, and then stir thoroughly. Place it in the fridge to cool for about 30 minutes so everything will be well infused.
Blueberry Thyme Lemonade
Blueberry and thyme really go well together. Adding them to lemonade turns it into a delicious, sophisticated drink. You can just as easily enjoy this one as a midday refreshment or paired with a nourishing, savory dinner.
Making your own blueberry juice is fairly easy. Just place your blueberries, desired amount of sugar, and the juice of half a lemon in a saucepan. Bring it to a boil, stirring constantly so the sugar won’t burn. Then, reduce to simmer for about 20 to 25 minutes, or until it starts to thicken.
Using a fine-mesh strainer, strain the blueberries and press down on them to get all the liquid out. Chill in the fridge for about 15 minutes. Next, prepare your lemonade the way you normally do, and then set aside.
When combining, the ratios will depend on how sweet and concentrated you like your lemonade to be. We recommend you start by adding 1/4 cup of syrup to a large pitcher, and then taste it. If the consistency isn’t there, keep adding more until you’re satisfied.
Place three or four thyme branches in your pitcher, and then place it in the fridge for about 30 minutes so the lemonade will be infused with the spice.
Ginger Ale Lemonade
Combining two delicious drinks into one can only turn out one way: 100 percent awesome! Plus, when you make your own simple ginger syrup, you can use it for a variety of things, like ginger tea and many Asian sauces.
To make the ginger syrup, peel and coarsely grate a small (two-inch) piece of ginger. Then, place it in a saucepan with 1/2 cup each of sugar and water over medium heat. Once it’s boiling, stir constantly to melt the sugar and prevent it from burning. Remove it from the heat, set it aside to cool for 15 minutes, and then strain (this should give you about 3/4 cup).
After you make your lemonade mix (you can use regular water, sparkling, or soda), add 1/4 cup of the syrup in a large pitcher, and then stir until it’s all combined. Taste and add more syrup, if necessary, until you reach the desired ratio.
Set it in the fridge to cool for at least 15 minutes before serving.
Elderflower Lavender Lemonade
This variation offers lots of opportunities to make things from scratch if you want to.
Elderflowers, however, are only in bloom for a very limited amount of time at the end of spring. So, to make your own syrup, you’ll have to wait until next spring. Once you pick your elderflowers, dump 1 cup of them into a saucepan. Add 1 cup each of sugar and water, and then stir over medium heat until the sugar dissolves.
Then, reduce to a simmer and immediately turn off the heat. Cover the saucepan and allow it to steep for one hour. Pour the elderflower syrup through a mesh strainer into a pitcher.
If elderflowers don’t grow where you live, or you don’t want to wait until spring to try this recipe, you can also buy elderflower syrup.
Next, grab a handful of lavender flowers (freshly picked or dried) and 1/2 cup of sugar (or less if your elderflower mixture is already sweet enough). Gently rub the flowers in the sugar, as if you’re trying to infuse the sugar with it. Pour two cups of boiling water over the lavender sugar, and then stir until the sugar is melted.
Cover and let the mixture infuse for at least 30 minutes. Then, use a fine strainer to get rid of the flowers.
Add two cups of freshly squeezed lemon juice to the elderflower pitcher, and then top it off with water and ice cubes. Add one tablespoon of lavender syrup and stir. Taste, and if the lavender isn’t coming through, add another tablespoon.
Continue until you reach the desired taste (lavender can be pretty overpowering). Place in the fridge to cool for at least 15 minutes before serving.
Cranberry Basil Lemonade
Most will agree that cranberries go well with everything. Adding it to some basil-infused lemonade, and it might just be your new favorite drink! First and foremost, you’ll need cranberry syrup. You can make your own or get some at the store if you don’t feel like spending extra time in the kitchen.
To make your own cranberry syrup, place 1 cup of cranberries, 1/2 cup of sugar, and 1 cup of water in a saucepan and bring it to a simmer over medium-high heat. Reduce the heat and let it simmer for about 10 minutes, or until the mixture reduces by half. Remove it from the heat and allow it to cool before straining it into a pitcher.
Add 2 cups of freshly squeezed lemon juice, ice cubes, 1/3 cup of roughly chopped fresh basil leaves, and still or sparkling water. Stir until it’s well combined. Place it in the fridge for at least 30 minutes, so the basil has enough time to infuse the water.
When life gives you lemons, you can always make lemonade—but you can also mix things up for some extra fun! These delicious recipes might just inspire you to come up with your own lemonade variation.