Our return to Seattle from the UK was marked by stunningly hot weather, over-enthusiasm at the farmers’ market leading to a glut of softening fruit in the fridge and the discovery of a batch of rapidly-shrivelling lemons and limes in our fruit bowl.
So the Minx and I set to to make a batch of strawberry lemonade. Funnily enough, though strawberry lemonade seems to be very common here in the US, it’s extremely rare in the UK, so I provide this recipe mostly as a public service to my non-American readers. It’s an absolutely gorgeous drink, both in looks and taste, which lends itself to all manner of variations, depending on the age and alcohol-tolerance of its audience (see ‘Variations’ below).
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup water
1 pint/punnet of very ripe strawberries, hulled, washed and chopped
1/2 cup water
1 cup fresh lemon juice
4-6 cups still or sparkling water to taste
Make a simple syrup by whisking together the sugar and 1 cup of water in a small sturdy pan. Bring it to the boil and then heat gently until the sugar has completely dissolved and disappeared. Set aside to cool.
Make a puree by attacking the strawberries and another half cup of water with your trusty
whizzer thingy immersion blender or just put them in a blender until you have a smooth puree.
Get a large jug and combine the simple syrup, strawberry puree and lemon juice. Then add 4-6 cups of water to taste. Chill to within an inch of its life. This should make approximately two bottles of lemonade.
Once you’ve got the basic method down you can start playing.
Infused syrups: Add herbs, spices or peels to your syrup ingredients before bringing to the boil and straining the syrup afterwards. I’m thinking peppercorns, lavender, rosemary, bay, cardamom or orange peel might be interesting to experiment with.
Different fruits: Once strawberry season is over, try using any other soft summer fruits which can made into a smooth puree. I’m betting rhubarb, peaches, plums, cherries or raspberries would all be delicious, just pass the blended fruit through a mouli or other sieve first to get rid of skins and seeds.
Use limes as well as lemons: The first batch of this the Minx and I made was made with lime juice, not lemons and it was delectable. Use either lemons, limes or a combination of both.
Dilute with different waters and alcohols. I like mine diluted with a splash of lemon Perrier or San Pellegrino ( in fact if left to my own devices I would make it entirely with sparkling water but the Minx would disapprove). I have also been known to add the teensiest splash of vodka or white rum. I should think a dark rum would turn this into something smooth and dangerous. Fruit-based spirits such as kirsch, maraschino or slivovitz might also be fun.
I hope you’ve been inspired to have a play around. I am now in dangerous cocktail-creating mood. There may be more blog posts on this topic.