June 21, 2013

summer's perfect drink: refreshing ginger lemonade

Seeing as it's the first day of summer, what's more appropriate than having a glass of homemade organic lemonade to quench your thirst? Even better, what about a ginger lemonade! As Ina Garten (I love her) would say, "It's a classic lemonade, but with the volume turned up". I was at a friend's house that had a bunch of ripe lemons on their tree, so took a good bagful home in anticipation of making some lemonade. I'm a huge fan of flavored simple syrups, I think they're fun and can add a special touch to an otherwise typical drink. I also love ginger. Love it. Let's put it this way, I'm totally that person you go out to sushi with that is asking for more pickled ginger and eating it off everyone elses empty sushi plates. It's spicy flavor is wonderful, but many times I find that anything "ginger flavored" in the store is really weak, and the spicy zing I like is pretty much nonexistent. So why not make a ginger lemonade that meets my idea of that spicy ginger flavor. I decided to infuse the ginger flavor into a simple syrup and add it to the lemonade making this drink the perfect summer treat. It's also a great party drink to serve, read below to find out how to fancy it up for a summer get together!

Homemade Organic Ginger Lemonade

1 1/2 cup organic lemon juice (about 10-15 lemons depending on how juicy they are, mine were very juicy and large so I only needed 10)
1 piece organic ginger (about the size of your palm)
1 1/2 cups of organic cane sugar
3 cups of filtered water (reserve 1 1/2 cups for simple syrup)

Making the ginger simple syrup:
Slice ginger into strips (you can peel off the skin, but I left mine on, just be sure to wash it if you don't peel). Add sugar and 1 1/2 cups of sugar to small pot along with slices of ginger. Heat in saucepan and simmer for 10 minutes. Taste the simple syrup, it should have a strong ginger flavor with a nice kick to it. If it's not strong enough, steep longer. Note, the ginger flavor will be subdued once added to the lemonade, so make sure the simple syrup has a strong ginger flavor. After 10 minutes, allow syrup to cool to room temperature (with ginger still in it).

Making the ginger lemonade:
Juice 1 1/2 cups of lemon juice and strain if there are any seeds. Take lemon juice and add *1 1/2 cups of water. Add in the ginger simple syrup (feel free to add a cup first, then taste test to see if you want it sweeter). Once you've got it to the right sweetness level, put in a container and add a few pieces of ginger from the syrup. Refrigerate overnight and consume within 3-4 days, though I'm sure it won't last that long. *You can also make it a concentrate by adding less water to the lemon juice, then upon serving top with some sparkling water instead. This is what I'll be doing at my next summer party. Or, do it shaken with your favorite alcohol!

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