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


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.


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.


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.


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.