There’s nothing like a cool glass of lemonade to refresh you on a hot summer’s day, or even to remind you of those beautiful summer’s days in the middle of fall or winter.
Of course to get a perfect glass of lemonade we have to start with a perfect lemon. Typically you will find two types of lemons at the grocery store, the Lisbon and Eureka varieties that are grown mostly in California and Arizona. However, during the spring and winter months you may also find the Meyer lemon, which is actually a hybrid of mandarins and lemons. Meyer lemons are juicier and sweeter than the usual lemon varieties and really work well for great lemonade; if you find them on sale during these seasons it’s worth stocking up!
Regardless of the type of lemon you’ll want to look for a nice bright yellow color with no green tinge to it and a skin free from dark spots. It’s also a good idea to pick ones that are heavy for their size. The juiciest lemons will give a little when squeezed but won’t be mushy
To avoid mold growing on the lemons, wash them really well as soon as you get home and store them at room temperature. Storing them at room temperature will also help you get the most juice out of the lemon; additionally to get the maximum juice from each lemon,weaken the cell membranes by soaking them in a bowl of warm water for a few minutes or pop them in the microwave for 20-30 seconds, then roll the lemon against the counter using your palm. Five to six lemons will yield about one cup of juice.
Lastly, making simple syrup from sugar and water is the best way to make sure your sugar is fully dissolved in the lemonade. All you have to do is mix sugar and water together and boil it quickly until the sugar is dissolved, transfer it to a bottle and chill it. Plus, this mixture keeps almost indefinitely so you can whip up a perfect batch of lemonade at a moments notice.
Now that we’ve got the basics down let’s take life’s lemons and add a fun twist with these 19 essential homemade lemonade recipes.
1. Raspberry Mint Lemonade
Berries and citrus are a delicious combo, and adding mint gives it that extra kick of freshness.
For a fantastically refreshing lemonade that yields eight servings, make simple syrup by mixing ½ cup sugar with ½ cup water and cooking it over medium heat, for about two to three minutes or until the sugar is fully melted.
Then, put a ½ pint of raspberries and ¼ cup of mint leaves in a pitcher crushing them with the end of a spoon until they are pulpy and smashed.
Next, add 2/3 of a cup of lemon juice, your simple syrup mixture and 3 cups of water, plus enough ice to fill the pitcher.
Stir to combine all ingredients and serve over ice with a lemon slice and mint sprig garnish.
2. Blueberry Lemonade
Using blueberries adds an unconventional twist on the citrus and berry combo that will give you a sweet and fruity kick to your lemonade.
To make six servings of this delicious lemonade, first make blueberry simple syrup by combining a ½ cup of sugar with 1 cup of water in a medium saucepan over medium heat, stirring until the sugar is dissolved. Then stir in the blueberries and bring water to a boil; reduce the heat and let simmer about 3 to 4 minutes until the blueberries are broken down.
Next, strain the blueberry mixture through a cheesecloth or fine sieve and let cool.
After, whisk together the blueberry simple syrup, ¾ cups fresh squeezed lemon juice and 5 cups water in a large pitcher and place it in the refrigerator until cool.
Serve over ice with some extra blueberries in the glass.
3. Blackberry Lemonade
If you prefer the tangy taste of lemonade but still want that great berry infusion, then opting for blackberries will satisfy your craving.
Make eight servings of this refreshing drink by starting with simple syrup.
Mix 1 and ½ cups of water with 1 and ½ cups of sugar in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil and stir until sugar is dissolved. Let cool.
Next mix 2 cups of blackberries with your simple syrup in a large pitcher and crush with the end of a spoon until the blackberries are smashed and pulpy.
Then stir in 2 cups of freshly squeezed lemon juice and add some whole lemon slices. Fill the rest of the pitcher with ice and water.
Serve over ice with a lemon wedge or blackberry garnish.
4. Cherry Pineapple Lemonade
This eye-catching drink, with its beautiful layered look is sure to make your mouth water with a fruity refreshing taste.
To yield 12 servings, mix 2 cups of fresh lemon juice, 2 cups of water and 2 cups of sugar in a saucepan and bring to a boil, stirring the sugar until it is fully dissolved. Place the simple syrup in a pitcher and refrigerate until cold.
Next thaw a can of frozen pineapple juice and add it to the simple syrup in the pitcher.
Then add water to the pitcher to taste.
Finally, pour 1-2 tablespoons of cherry syrup in the bottom of a glass (which you can find in the drink mix section of most grocery stores), fill the glass with ice and pour the pineapple lemonade slowly over the ice until the glass is full.
Add a maraschino cherry and a slice of pineapple for garnish.
5. Strawberry Lemonade
Looking for tart lemonade with a sweet kick to stimulate your taste buds? This strawberry lemonade will have your mouth watering with a refreshing taste of summer.
Prepare twelve servings of this delicious lemonade by cutting 8 large strawberries in half and placing them in a blender. Add 2 tablespoons of sugar and 1 cup of water. Blend until the pieces of strawberry have turned into juice.
Next, mix the strawberry juice with 6 cups of water, 1 cup of sugar and 2 cups of freshly squeezed lemon juice in a large pitcher. Stir until blended and chill before serving.
Pour over ice and add a lemon slice to the glass. Top it off with a strawberry garnish.
6. Fresh Peach Lemonade
Berries aren’t the only fruit that will add flavor to your lemonade. Try kicking it up a notch by adding fresh peaches for a fruity twist on this traditional recipe.
Chop up 2 medium peaches to create five servings of this fruity juice.
Then mix the peaches with 2 cups of water and 1 cup of sugar in a small saucepan and bring the mixture to a boil. Reduce the heat; cover and let simmer for 5-7 minutes or until the peaches are tender.
Remove from heat, let cool and strain, throwing away the peach skins.
Next combine the peach mixture, with ¾ cups of fresh squeezed lemon juice and 2 cups of water.
Serve over ice; add a lemon slice and even a sprig of mint for a garnish.
7. Lavender Lemonade
Skip fruit altogether and add an exotic floral taste to your lemonade for another way to achieve that refreshing taste of summer.
All varieties of lavender are edible but the most commonly used kinds for cooking are English Lavender and Provence Lavender.
To yield six servings of this delicious drink, cut the lavender from their stems and place into a medium size bowl (no need to strip them).
Pour 1 cup of granulated sugar over the lavender and mix together with your hands.
Next, pour 2 cups of boiling water over the lavender and sugar mix. Stir until the sugar has dissolved.
Then cover and let infuse for minimum 30 minutes, up to a maximum of a few hours.
After, strain the lavender from the simple syrup and pour lavender simple syrup mix into a large pitcher.
Stir in 1 and ½ cups of freshly squeezed lemon juice and 2 cups of water. Add ice and more water until desired level of concentration has been achieved.
Pour over ice with a slice of lemon and a sprig of lavender in each glass.
8. Vanilla Lemonade
Another great way to add a floral flavor to this fruity drink is to mix in some vanilla beans. A perfect sweet and sour lemonade, even on those cooler days.
First, use a peeler to garner lemon zest from your lemons. Then split and seed 1 vanilla bean (Mexican vanilla bean is an especially good variety to use for this drink).
Next make vanilla-lemon simple syrup by placing the lemon peels, vanilla pod and seeds, 1 cup of sugar and 1 cup of water into a medium saucepan. Bring to a simmer over medium to high heat and let it cook for 1 minute. Cover and let it steep for 10 minutes.
After, pour the simple syrup (vanilla bean pods and all) into a pitcher. Add 4 cups of water and 1 and 1/12 cups of lemon juice to the pitcher. Stir until mixed.
The vanilla pods will keep infusing your lemonade as it sits. So, pour over ice and garnish with a lemon slice to serve four.
9. Basil Lemonade
If you love the combination of lemon and mint kick it up a notch by using basil, which is related to the mint plant. Perfect for a healthy and zesty lemonade.
Serve four by placing one cup of fresh basil leaves into the bottom of a large pitcher. Muddle slightly by crushing the leaves with the end of a spoon.Then mix in ½ a cup of freshly squeezed lemon juice, 4 cups of water and sugar to taste. Let chill.
Pour over ice and garnish with a lemon slice and basil leaf.
10. Thyme and Lime Lemonade
Another great way to keep your lemonade tangy and add a little spice is by using this delicious thyme and lime combo.
Place 10 fresh sprigs of thyme in a pitcher and pour in ¼ cup of fresh lime juice. Then muddle with the end of a spoon until the thyme is mashed.
Pour in 3 cups of store bought lemonade, or freshly squeezed lemon juice. (If you opt for freshly squeezed juice add sugar to taste).
Refrigerate for minimum 1 hour. Then serve over ice and garnish with a sprig of thyme.
11. Cilantro and Jalapeno Lemonade
Kick it into high gear with this power pact recipe. Cilantro is full of antioxidants that help with detoxification, jalapeno is great to boost your metabolism and lemons add a healthy dose of vitamin C.
First, wash and chop 1 cup of cilantro and 2 large jalapenos (removing the seeds and ribs).
Next, pour 4 and ½ cups of water over the chopped cilantro and jalapenos. Steep for 30 minutes at room temperature, then cover and let chill for 3-4 hours.
Afterwards, strain the mixture into a large pitcher and stir in 1 and a ½ cups of fresh squeezed lemon juice. Add sugar to taste.
Serve over ice garnished with a lemon slice.
12. Ginger Lemonade
For a more soothing yet equally healthy lemonade, spice it up with ginger; known to promote digestion, prevent nausea and ease inflammation. Use this taste of summer, even in the winter to help battle cold season.
To serve four with this super simple recipe just add 4 cups of water, 1 cup of fresh lemon juice, 1/2 cup of sugar (or opt for coconut nectar or pure maple syrup), 1 medium lemon, with peel, washed, cut, and seeded, and 1 tablespoon minced ginger into your blender.
Then blend on high until the whole lemon is completely pulverized. Add more ginger if desired and blend again.
The mixture will come out frothy so transfer it into a sealed container and let chill in the fridge until the froth has settled.
Pour over ice and garnish with a lemon wedge.
13. Green Lemonade
Switch up your morning smoothie routine by turning it into lemonade. Not only will you continue getting the great health benefits of a green smoothie but also add more vitamin C and get the refreshing taste of lemon.
All you need for this recipe is a juicer.
Add 1 head of romaine lettuce, 4 kale leaves,1 (1/2 inch) piece of ginger, 2 quartered apples and 1 lemon, scrubbed and seeded to your juicer.
Process, stir and drink!
14. Cucumber Lemonade
When it comes to flavoring water, cucumber and lemons are at the top of the list. Mix the two together for the perfect balance of thirst quenching flavor.
Serve 6 to 8 with this easy to make recipe.
Cut and peel 1 pound of Kirby cucumbers (about 4 cucumbers). Blend the cucumber chunks until pureed, then blend it again for one extra minute to make sure they are as processed as possible.
Next, use a fine mesh strainer or a regular strainer lined with a coffee filter or a couple of layers of cheese cloth. Pour cucumber puree through the strainer into a large pitcher and discard the solids. You should end up with about 1 cup of cucumber juice in the pitcher.
Now, add 1 cup of freshly squeezed lemon juice and 1/3 cup of granulated sugar and mix with 2 cups of cold water.
Stir or shake until mixed and let sit in the fridge for at least 15 minutes. Afterwards you can add more sugar or water if desired.
Serve over ice with a splash of seltzer water and a cucumber slice garnish.
15. Pumpkin Puree Lemonade
Although fall marks the end of summer, it brings with it cozy sweaters, crisp leaves and pumpkins! Now you can combine the sweet taste of summer with the crisp taste of fall with this unique take on traditional lemonade.
To serve four with this exclusive recipe, start by making pumpkin puree.
Pick two small pumpkins and cut the tops off. Then cut in half and scoop out all the seeds and stringy innards.
Once the innards are removed cut the pumpkin into smaller chunks and place the pieces on a baking sheet. Roast them in the oven at 350-degrees for 45 minutes, or until pumpkin is tender (it should be a nice light golden-brown color).
Once the pumpkin is ready peel the skin away from the meat with a knife.
Add the pieces of pumpkin meat to a blender or food processor and blend with a little bit of water (about 3 tablespoons). Pulse until the pumpkin is totally smooth.
Next fill a large pitcher with lemonade (homemade is always fresher but store bought can be used too). Add the pumpkin puree, one tablespoon at a time, to taste (about 2 tablespoons per 8-ounce drinking glass). Gently stir the lemonade after each tablespoon so the puree is fully mixed into the drink.
Garnish with cinnamon or nutmeg to taste and serve cold.
16. Champagne Lemonade
Who says lemonade can’t be a great nighttime drink? Add a little adult twist to this often thought of children’s drink by topping it off with sparkling champagne.
Make 8 scrumptious lemonade cocktails by first making simple syrup. Combine 1-cup sugar and 1-cup water into a small saucepan and bring to a boil. Cook until the sugar has dissolved (about 1 minute). Then remove from heat and let cool.
In a large pitcher mix the cooled simple syrup with 1 and ½ cups of fresh squeezed lemon juice and 2 more cups of water. Mix well.
Next fill a champagne flute halfway with the lemonade and fill the rest with sparkling champagne.
Garnish with a slice of lemon.
17. Summer Shandy Lemonade
Looking for an adult twist on lemonade that’s good for the afternoon as well as the evening? Well this light summer shandy with beer and lemon juice is just the answer you’re looking for.
You can serve up this drink for two by first making simple syrup. Combine 1-cup sugar and 1-cup water in a saucepan and bring to a boil. Cook until the sugar has dissolved (about 1 minute). Then remove from heat and let cool.
Next mix the simple syrup with 1 and ½ cups fresh squeezed lemon juice and 2 cups of water. Stir well.
Lastly, rim your glass with sugar and pour in ¾ cups light beer, chilled. Top the rest off with your homemade lemonade and serve immediately.
You can play with the proportions of beer to lemonade depending on your tolerance.
Garnish with a lemon slice.
18. Sweet Tea Vodka Lemonade Mojitos
Why not combine more than one of your favorite drinks for the ultimate twist on this classic drink with sweet tea vodka lemonade mojitos.
This recipe is great to make by the Mason jar so you can store and serve at a moment’s notice.
Start by placing 1/2 a washed and seeded lemon into a 16 oz mason jar and add 5-6 sprigs of fresh mint.
Next use the bottom of a wooden spoon to muddle both the lemon half and mint.
Then add ¼ cup of sweet tea flavored vodka. (Jeremiah Weed and Firefly are both good brands).
Finally add 1/2 cup of homemade lemonade and a splash of club soda.
Screw on the Mason jar lid and shake, shake, shake.
If you’re ready to drink it, add some ice and a lemon wedge garnish otherwise store in the fridge until you’re ready, adding ice and the garnish right before serving.
19. Classic Pink Lemonade
Although lemonade can be spiked, spiced and fruity there’s nothing like a cool glass of classic pink lemonade to round out this essential list.
Make enough for six servings with this great traditional recipe.
First make simple syrup by combining 1 cup of sugar and 1 cup of the water in a small saucepan. Over medium heat bring mixture to a gentle simmer until sugar is fully dissolved. Remove from heat and let cool.
Next squeeze 5-6 fresh lemons for 1 cup of juice.
Then add the cooled simple syrup to your pitcher, followed by the lemon juice, 4 cups of water and 2-3 tablespoons of grenadine.
Stir and adjust to taste, by adding more sugar or more lemon juice.
Pour over ice and add a lime garnish for a fun way to bring out the pink color.
As we’ve seen lemonade is so versatile and can be combined with nearly any ingredient for a smooth taste or spicy kick. This drink is a great way to cool down in the summer or even as a pick me up during the colder months. There’s almost no limit to what you can do with lemonade, so if life hands you lemons turn to this list of 19 essential homemade lemonade recipes and kick your lemonade into high gear.