If life gives you lemons then make lemonade. If life does not give you lemons then buy some and make lemonade. Why rely upon frozen canisters of lemonade concentrate or plastic jugs of sweetened beverage when it is so easy to make perfectly sweet and tart beverage from a few fresh lemons?
Vintage marketing for quick and easy lemonade has convinced many Americans that lemonade is made from frozen concentrate or powder. Heavy marketing for convenience lemonade began in the 1920s when both the Florida and California citrus business was booming. Transportation and refrigeration finally made it profitable for growers to expand their citrus groves and market their fruit across the nation. Both lemons and oranges could now be juiced when picked and the juice bottled or frozen to be sold year round. Orange juice became an American breakfast staple and lemonade was served all summer as the quintessential thirst quencher. It became a common mixer for both soft drinks and adult beverages.
Now that lemons are largely available year round it is easy to pick up 6-8 lemons to juice and make a large pitcher of the most refreshing lemonade you have ever had. When you make it yourself you get to decide how tart, how sweet and how strong you want it.
I especially enjoy the flavor of Meyer lemons which are not available year round. I buy a few extra each February when they arrive in my local Costco, juice them, and freeze the juice in one cup packages for use the next summer. Hey! Look what I just did. I made my own frozen juice concentrate except it tastes much, much better than the mass produced grocery store variety.
The powdered stuff? Mimi's Kitchen won't even talk about that. That is yucky.
6-8 lemons or enough to make 1 cup lemon juice
1 cup water
1 cup sugar
Make a simple syrup by bringing the water and sugar to a gentle simmer in a small saucepan over medium low heat. Stir mixture occasionally and remove from heat as soon as it simmers. Let cool for 2-3 minutes and then stir again to make sure all of the sugar is dissolved. Pour simple syrup into a jar and set it in the refrigerator to cool completely.
In the meantime, juice lemons in a citrus reamer to make 1 cup. Strain out the seeds but leave the pulp; it adds flavor.
When the syrup has cooled pour it into a 2 quart pitcher. Add lemon juice and then 2 cups cold water. This makes a strong lemonade. If you want it a little less potent then add more cold water to taste. Remember that if you pour your lemonade it over ice the ice will melt and dilute your lemonade. It is better to leave your lemonade slightly stronger than your ideal.
My preference is to add 2 cups of cold water to my lemon juice/simple syrup mixture and then pour over ice. I like my lemonade on the strong side.
To stretch your lemonade to serve to a larger crowd mix it in equal parts with passion fruit, hibiscus, or your favorite tea. It is not exactly the sweet iced tea I love in the south but it is refreshing and just a wee bit lower in calories.
Note: Use your imagination this lemonade. It is wonderful when mixed with strawberries, raspberries, and blackberries. It also blends well with many teas such as white or green tea and other herb teas such as mint or chamomile. Use fresh mint leaves, if you have them.