Recipes and mixes and bottled lemonades exist, but there’s something about making lemonade at home that goes beyond the drink. This recipe is extra delicious for several reasons: it is extra lemony because it uses a whole lemon, extra cold, has bubbles, and it uses the ingredients and equipment designed for making cocktails, which is always more fun. Is it the easiest lemonade? Nope, but it’s a better sparkling lemonade, that you’ll want to sip slowly and smell in the zest as you sip it.
Lemonade Sparkler Tips
Do you really need to peel the lemon peel in an uninterrupted spiral?
No, but why not try it, because it’s pretty in the glass and it’s a satisfying 30-second-long project, made better with a sharp peeler that makes extremely thin peels. Have leftover peels? Try this easy and delicious Candied Citrus Peels recipe.
This lemonade uses simple syrup, which you probably have the ingredients for on hand, so the sugar mixes evenly with the juice and you completely control the sweetness. The recipe is below.
Shaken or stirred?
Shaken. Just like cocktails that contain juice, using a cocktail shaker to chill the juice and syrup and ice makes it extremely chilly, and a little bit thicker. Also, the pleasant clinky sound of ice and liquid sloshing around in the shaker fill you with refreshing anticipation.
What do the lemon hulls do?
Throw the lemon hulls into the shaker because, why not get as much flavor as possible out of this fruit?
Why slap mint?
Slapping the mint releases the oils and creates a cloud of mintiness. This seemed like an affectation the first time I saw it. It’s not!
Why not make it sparkling? Bubbles are entertaining. Also, this is not scientifically proven, but they also accentuate the lemony smell of this drink.
Can this become a cocktail?
The last thing to mention is that this drink can also easily become a cocktail by adding 2 ounces of gin, vodka, or tequila blanco if that is what you’re in the mood to drink.
Want more fun drink ideas? Try these vacation-worthy cocktails and smoothies you can make in a pineapple and creative summer mocktail ideas.
Recipe courtesy Heather Ramsdell: Makes one drink
Skip the straw and get your nose close to the sunny scent of a long, thin spiral of zest. It makes this sparkly homemade lemonade even more refreshing.:
Zest and juice from 1 lemon
2 ounces simple syrup, recipe below
2 ounces gin, optional
1 sprig mint
- Wash the outside of the lemon. Use a sharp citrus peeler to shave a long, continuous strip of lemon zest. If the strip breaks, start right up where you left off.
- Put some ice into a 16-ounce tumbler. Spiral the long strip of zest inside the glass from bottom to top, adding ice as you go to keep it in place.
- Halve and juice the lemon. Put the lemon hulls, lemon juice, simple syrup (plus the alcohol if you are using it) into a cocktail shaker with ice. Shake very well and strain into the glass. Clap a sprig of mint between your palms and tuck into the glass. Top with sparkling water and enjoy.
Makes about 1 ½ cups simple syrup:
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup water
- Stir together 1 cup granulated sugar and 1 cup water in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil and cook without stirring until the sugar dissolves and the water becomes clear, about 4 minutes.
- Set aside to cool. Transfer to a squeeze bottle.