One of the things I love about food, like an old song or a familiar smell, is how it can trigger memories. For me, the taste of fresh-squeezed lemonade always brings me back to childhood summers visiting amusement parks, where I spent most of my time avoiding rickety roller coasters (and other rides that made me sick). While my friends all sprinted from one scary ride to the next, I held everyone’s stuff — which, I’m sad to say, is still true today with my own family. My big thrill at amusement parks was always the funnel cake and fresh-squeezed lemonade – you know, the one from the lemonade stand with the tall old-fashioned juice press. Man, that stuff was good.
I don’t know if they still make it that way today (and I’m not going to an amusement park to find out) but, thankfully, it’s easy to make at home as long as you’re willing to juice a bunch of lemons. To this version, I’ve added puréed fresh raspberries to give it a fruity flavor and a vibrant pink color. The recipe is endlessly adaptable: Like it tart? Go light on the sugar. Want it boozy? Add a splash of vodka or tequila. Feeling fancy? Dress it up with lemon slices, fresh berries and mint sprigs. No matter how you make it, I promise it’s worth the effort of juicing all those lemons — and perfect to ring in the season this weekend.
You’ll need approximately 8 to 12 to make this recipe. Lately, I’ve been finding lemons that are almost the size of apples — those are great if you can find them. One large lemon can yield up to 6 tablespoons of juice, while a typical-sized lemon yields about 3 tablespoons of juice, so plan accordingly.
Begin by puréeing the raspberries in a blender with some of the lemon juice.
Pass the mixture through a fine sieve to strain the seeds. It sounds fussy but the fastest way to do this is by using a soup ladle and pressing against the strainer in a circular motion. Try it — it works!
Add the sugar, remaining lemon juice and water to the raspberry purée.
Stir until the sugar is dissolved.
This makes a fairly concentrated lemonade so dilute it with more water to your liking, but keep in mind that the ice cubes will water it down. Enjoy!
- 1-3/4 cups fresh squeezed lemon juice, from 8-12 lemons, strained
- 1/2 pound (8 oz.) raspberries, plus more for serving
- 5 cups water
- 1 cup sugar
- Lemon wedges, for serving
- Fresh mint, for serving
- Combine the raspberries and ½ cup of the lemon juice in a blender; purée until smooth, then pass the mixture through a fine sieve into a large bowl to strain out the seeds (the fastest way to force it through is by pressing a ladle against the strainer in a circular motion). Add the remaining lemon juice, water, and sugar to the bowl and stir until the sugar is dissolved. Taste, then and add more sugar, lemon juice or water if necessary (keep in mind that ice cubes will water it down). Pour into glasses with ice cubes and garnish with lemon wedges, raspberries and fresh mint, if desired. The lemonade will keep in the fridge for a few days.
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