If you love lemonade but hate the sugar-laden store-bought stuff, you’ll love homemade lemonade which is ready in 5 minutes or less. The best part is you can make “infusions” to flavor your lemonade with lavender, hibiscus and many other unique flavor ideas.
What Is Lemonade?
Lemonade is a refreshing, summery beverage made from lemon juice, water, and sugar. When you make lemonade from scratch, you usually squeeze lemon juice into a glass and add simple syrup to sweeten it. You can make traditional lemonade, which has lemon juice and not much else. Or you can make unique flavors of lemonade with herbs and fruits to flavor it.
What Are Lemonade Infusions?
Although you can use granulated sugar to sweeten lemon juice and water when making lemonade, it’s faster and more common to use simple syrup where the sugar is already dissolved into water. As long as you’re going to make simple syrup, you can infuse the simple syrup with different flavors, such as lavender and basil.
Therefore, lemonade infusions are simply flavored lemonade made from different herbs, fruits, and flavorings.
I learned this technique to infuse lemonade with different flavors from French people who love to infuse their water with unique flavors. I’m finding it more common for trendy hotels, restaurants, and spas to serve water with slices of lemon, cucumber, pineapple, and other fruits and vegetables to flavor the water. You’ll do the same in this lemonade infusion recipe.
How to Make Unique Lemonade Flavors
The trick to infusing simple syrup with different flavors is to boil the water and sugar in a saucepan. Then you add the flavorings you want and boil for 3 to 10 minutes depending on how strongly flavored you want your simple syrup to be. See the recipe below for details on how to make flavored lemonade.
Unique Lemonade Flavors
Here is a list of lemonade flavors you can try, some more commonplace and others more exotic:
- Sichuan peppercorns
- Spent vanilla pods
Experimental Lemonade Flavors
When I planned a lemonade cooking meetup, we decided to experiment with adventurous infusion blends. Here are 4 blends we tried:
- Lavender + Basil
- Sichuan peppercorn + crushed pineapple
- Rosemary + mint
- Papaya + rosemary
Here is our review of how the experimental lemonade flavors tasted.
Lavender + basil
Very subtle and floral. Despite adding 4 leaves of basil that Leigh chiffonaded (past tense of chiffonade?), you only got a faint hint of basil. Overall, it was pleasant and fragrant but the lemon overpowered the lavender and basil flavors. Reducing down further or adding more lavender and basil would have solved the problem.
Sichuan peppercorn + crushed pineapple
My first reaction: “This is weird.”
But it’s weird in a good way. Normally, Sichuan peppercorns don’t pack much flavor or heat. Instead, they create a numbing sensation in your mouth. We weren’t sure what to expect, so we didn’t add a lot. The Sichuan peppercorns mostly made your mouth tingle a bit. The pineapple offered a nice sweetness in contrast to the sour lemon juice.
Kat and Zheng mentioned they didn’t taste any Sichuan peppercorn, so your mileage may vary, especially since Zheng admitted to loving very spicy food and Kat just ate Indian food. So, their sense of taste might have been duller than the rest of ours.
Rosemary + mint
This was hands down everybody’s favorite. Alex proposed it as a very classic and household favorite herb combo…and he was right. It was refreshing and “herby” enough to delight everybody’s palates. I suspect that rosemary + mint + lavender would have also been great. It’s on the list to try for next time!
Rosemary + mint would probably make a fantastic marinade over steak or lamb too.
Papaya + rosemary
This combo was the stinkiest and the least liked. Kat said, “this smells like feet.” The papaya doesn’t provide the most pleasant fragrance. Boiling it with sugar and rosemary made it even more pungent. I would not recommend this combo.
How to Squeeze More Juice From Your Lemons
- Roll the lemon first to break the cells. It softens the outer peel to make it easier to squeeze the last drops of juice out.
- Zap the lemon in the microwave for 30 seconds to achieve the same softening and cell damage.
RELATED: Check out 7 Ways to Juice A Lemon
How to Make Lemonade Extra Fancy?
- Add ice cubes to the lemonade before serving
- Rim the glass with sugar
- Use sparkling water
- Garnish the glass with mint and blueberries
- Spike it with some vodka or tequila
- Blend fruits into the lemonade, such as mango and cherry purée
5-Minute Homemade Lemonade Infusions
- 1 part (1 part) Water, 1 cup is a good starting point
- 1 part (1 part) sugar, Supposedly you need 1 part sugar. But when using 1 cup of water, I like to stick to 1 tablespoon of sugar. We could all use a little less sugar in our lives.
- 1 Lemon
- Herbs, Fresh preferably
- Flowers, Dried flowers work better. Ensure they are edible.
- Boil the sugar and water together.
- Add your herbs and/or flowers to the boil.
- Let the herbs and/or flowers steep for 10 minutes. Remove and discard.
- Squeeze lemon juice into a glass. Add water.
- Pour in some infused simple syrup until you get the sweetness you want. Stir gently.
What to Eat With Flavored Lemonade
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FAQ about Lemonade Flavors
What Is The Flavor of Pink Lemonade?
Pink lemonade can be different flavors depending on what is used to make the lemonade pink. Pink lemonade can be pink thanks to cranberry juice, pomegranate juice (or grenadine), or crushed strawberries.
Is Homemade Lemonade Good For You?
Yes! Homemade lemonade is good for you because you can control how much sugar you add to the drink. You can even make different flavors of lemonade. It is super easy to make homemade lemonade and it’s as quick as 5 minutes.
Plus, homemade lemonade is a great way to encourage you to drink more water because you can add flavors you enjoy to liven up plain water.
Can You Make Sugar-Free Lemonade?
Yes, you can add zero sugar to your homemade lemonade. However, the lemon juice may make your lemonade taste very sour without sugar. Some people love the taste of lemon straight so that might work for you. If you find sugar-free lemonade too sour, you can try an alternative sweetener, such as stevia, monk fruit, or artificial sweeter if you’re into it.
Or you can flavor and sweeten your lemonade with fruit purées. Try blending mango, berries, or cherry and add it to your lemonade before serving to sweeten the beverage and reduce the sourness of the lemon juice.
Is Too Much Lemonade Bad For You?
Too much store-bought lemonade is probably bad for you because it’s filled with a lot of sugar. You can make your homemade lemonade, which doesn’t have so much sugar as the store-bought variety. Plus you can unique flavorings, thereby avoiding the artificial flavorings you might find in the store-bought lemonade. It’s hard to imagine how homemade lemonade could be bad for you unless you add too much sugar.
READ NEXT: How to Squeeze the Most Juice From a Lemon