Yes, I've been gone awhile. From Dominican Republic to Jamaica and back home, I've returned with the darkest tan that has my family blinking to notice their daughter and sister underneath... there somewhere. And with fresh memories of a sun-filled vacation I bring to you my newest quench-thirsting Summer/Spring homemade drink, drum-roll please... The lemonade!
Here is what I remember about trying to make lemonade not that long ago, squeezing a whole bunch of lemons until my hands felt like they were being slowly eaten away by acid that left a stinging raw sensation all over, and then pouring a cup or two of sugar that had me stirring forever to get the sugar to dissolve.
Before we begin let me suggest, if you are a fresh-juice, do it yourself kind of person it is most helpful to invest in an electronic juicer. A simple gadget that spins when pushed down on, it literally does all the juicing for you and makes the experience that much more pleasant and faster, did you hear me? I said "and faster".
A basket or bowl of lemonades (however much you would like to make), washed and sliced in half
Turbinado (natural cane juice sugar available at Trader Joe's)
Water (equal parts to however much Turbinado you plan to use)
Pour into a small saucepan or pot equal parts of Turbinado and water, if you are using 1 cup of Turbinado use 1 cup of water, if you are using 2 cups of Turbinado you will need 2 cups of water, you get my point. Heat the sugar and water mixture on medium-low heat and stir almost constantly until all the sugar is melted. Turn off the heat and allow this mixture (which is now called simple syrup) to cool.
While the simple syrup is cooling, juice your lemons to make pure lemonade. Pour the lemonade into its own container or jug and keep refrigerated.
Once the simple syrup has cooled you can pour it into it's own container and refrigerate as well.
And, when thirsty for a glass of fresh lemonade, pour 2/3 of lemon juice into a glass with ice and 1/4 - 1/3 of simple syrup, stir well and then enjoy- and let me add, no waiting for that sugar to dissolve! The amount of simple syrup you put into your glass of fresh lemon juice depends on you and how sweet or sour you want your lemonade to be, I always find that about 1/3 or a little less than 1/3 is perfect for my palate.
You might ask, "why keep the simple syrup and lemon juice in separate containers?" Simple syrup can be used for a variety of things, including but not limited to making mixed cocktails and so for the sake of convenience of keeping my options open I keep them separate. Besides, I never know how I want my lemonade from one day to the next, maybe a little sour today and a little sweet tomorrow- you never know.
*** Another quick-tip! A splash or two of club soda can add a bit of fizzzz that makes this lemonade extra refreshing!