Simple Syrup, 3 Ways: Or, The Best Lemonade Ever

by candaceladd

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Last week was Daylight Savings, and the fact that world isn’t dark anymore after dinner makes me so outrageously happy. We had unusually good weather in Missouri; the world feels like sunshine and warm breezes and spring, even though spring isn’t official until Wednesday. And spring? I propose that we all celebrate this Wednesday with a tall, cold glass of your chosen flavor of this lemonade.

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The trick for delicious, fruity lemonade is simple syrup. Simple syrup is no secret – it’s used in many cocktails and drinks. But where it gets interesting is when you add your own twist to it. For today, I made three variations: raspberry + mint, strawberry + basil, and blueberry + lime.

I mixed them with some plain, pulpy lemonade, and made what I think is the prettiest lemonade I’ve ever seen. I’m a sucker for bright colors, which probably has something to do with it. I had a hard time deciding which one was my favorite, and there was no consensus among my family members either. I think this means you can’t go wrong.

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The process for all of them is the same – boil, strain, chill, mix. A fine mesh sieve is going to be your best bet, but I’m at my grandparents and used their colander. There’s a few more seeds and berry bits than there would be otherwise, but I’m okay with that.

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I used frozen fruit. You can use fresh, of course, but I think the way frozen fruit thaws and becomes soft lends itself well to infusing the syrup. I also kind of smooshed them (technical cooking term, learned it from Julia Child) (Just kidding) with a spoon as they cooked to release more juices.

This is the basic recipe that makes a half cup of syrup, but if you’d like to make more, just remember a one to one ratio of sugar, water, and fruit, and herbs to taste. The flavor of the herbs was very subtle in the amount listed; add more if you’d like a stronger flavor. If you’re making your own lemonade, dial back the sugar to account for the sweetness of the simple syrup.

Simple Syrup:

½ cup water

½ cup sugar

Put ingredients in a small saucepan and bring to a boil, stirring occasionally. Let cool.

…..that’s it. It’s called simple for a reason. Now, for some variations!

Raspberry + Mint:

½ cup raspberries

6 mint leaves, torn into quarters

Strawberry + Basil:

½ cup strawberries

6 basil leaves, torn into quarters

Blueberry + Lime

½ cup blueberries

2 limes

Juice the limes. Add water until it make a half cup, and use in place of the normal ½ cup water.

Mix to taste with your favorite lemonade or tea. Enjoy on your porch swing/deck/patio while thinking about spring-ish things, like….flowers. Okay, you don’t have to actually think about flowers.

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