Alright, real talk: I hate how recipes online make you read the author’s frigging life story–all while shoving dozens of intrusive ads in your face–prior to actually sharing the recipe. So let’s shake things up a bit and throw the recipe up first with the story to follow! This is a delicious lemonade syrup/concentrate that you can store in the fridge in a mason jar in order to have on-demand refreshing drinks whenever the mood strikes.
One Batch (one 16 ounce “pint” mason jar)
- 1/3 cup boiling water
- 2/3 cup sugar
- 1 1/4 cups freshly sqeezed lemon juice
Three Batches (three 16 ounce “pint” mason jars)
- 1 cup boiling water
- 2 cups sugar
- 5 pounds lemons, juiced (about 3 3/4 cups juice)
Boil some water, then measure the boiling water and add it and the sugar to a small pot over low heat. Stir until the sugar is completely dissolved to create a 2:1 strength simple syrup and let cool.
While it is cooling, juice the fresh lemons. Strain the lemon juice to reach your desired amount of pulp, then stir into the simple syrup. Store in refrigerator for ~1 week, or freeze for longer.
Combine roughly 1 part syrup to 3 parts water for plain lemonade (you might want to add a little more syrup to taste). 1 batch makes approximately 64 fluid ounces of lemonade (or a little less if you like it to be more strongly flavored).
Although being able to whip up a cup of fresh lemonade is nice, I mostly reserve this for making green tea lemonade. If you wish to add a bit of lemonade to your existing drinks, I highly recommend picking up a set of these Jarmazing pumps. I find 3/4 cup of just-prior-to-boiling water steeped with a single green tea bag then poured over a tall glass of ice, plus five pumps of lemonade concentrate (~25 mL or 5 teaspoons) makes an absolutely delicious green tea lemonade (and of course you can always add or subtract pumps to taste).
Varying the sugar
I adapted this recipe from some random recipe I found online which used a 3:1 strength simple syrup and an equal amount of lemon juice to sugar. Everyone in our house (including my kids) agreed it was way too sweet, and despite cutting the recipe in half it was too much liquid to fit in a mason jar (which was a problem, because I wanted to use my fancy Jarmazing pumps!). The recipe above is the result of testing alternate quantities, but if you find it too tart for you, increasing the sugar from 2/3 cup to somewhere between 2/3 cup 1 cup should work fine (you might just need to drink a glass of lemonade right after you make it so that the rest can fit in the mason jar!).
(Pro tip! Costco sells 5 lb bags of lemons that make for a perfect 3 mason jars worth of concentrate; 2 to freeze, and one to drink right away!)
I don’t go to Starbucks very often, but when I do I pretty much only ever order iced green tea lemonade. For years that was fine as a “sometimes treat”, but then over the course of the two years since we moved to our current home our local town saw four Taiwanese tea shops open up (none of them more than a block away from one another). I don’t know why our area is apparently crazy for boba, but my family made a point of visiting each one as they opened to try and figure out what made them special and over the course of doing so I realized that the only thing I actually enjoyed off their respective menus was grapefruit green tea.
…in other words, exactly what I would order at Starbucks but with a different citrus.
Of course, be it Taiwanese tea or Starbucks, I’d be looking at paying $5-$6 a glass, and I wondered…could I just make this at home and have my treat more regularly, with decaf green tea, and for a lot less money?
A bit of internet research seemed to indicate that yes, this was indeed possible! And after a bit of delicious experimenting I landed on the recipe above, which hits just the right tart-lemon-to-sweetness ratio, mixes beautifully into other drinks, and stores wonderfully (and compactly!) in the fridge. A bag of lemons from my local Costco costs about the same as a single drink at one of our numerous Taiwanese tea shops, but makes 2-3 batches of lemonade concentrate (which in turn makes around 8 glasses of lemonade, or as many as 20 glasses of green tea lemonade).
Enjoy! I think next up I’m going to try subbing fresh grapefruits instead of lemons…