Thursday, June 28, 2012

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Two Lemonades: Fresh or with a Soulless Ginger Twist

Summer has come on cruelly for parts of the United States. Since last week, temperature spikes in the Midwest and East Coast have made me worried for family...and relieved that San Diego remains, as ever, lovely.

I will be traveling to those hot and humid places over the next few weeks, though, and undoubtedly will keep cool with beer, whiskey, iced tea...and lemonade.

I don't bother with pre-made lemonade, the powders and mixes. I'm not all snooty and think they're too sweet or otherwise unhealthy — it's just that fresh lemonade is easy to make from three ingredients we always have on hand; lemon juice, water, and sugar syrup. Why fake it when doing it properly takes so little effort?

This is an extremely versatile basic recipe. The ratio of ingredients is a straightforward 5:5:3, so use cups, milliliters, coffee mugs, etc. Any volume will work as long as you maintain the ratio. Scale up or down as your thirst, crowd, and container size dictate.
Fresh Lemonade

17oz/500ml fresh lemon juice
17oz/500ml cool water
10oz/300ml 2:1 sugar syrup

Mix in a pitcher. Chill if you've got time. Pour into glasses over fresh ice.
Monday, I was faced with a pot of ginger-infused water. It was leftover from Sunday night's ginger tea. Rather than throw it out, I swapped it out for the water I would otherwise use in the above recipe and made ginger syrup with the rest.

I strained the ginger water and set aside 250ml. About about 350ml remained, so I added twice the volume of sugar (700ml) and heated the mix in a pot just enough to dissolve the sugar. With everything in place, it was simple to make a batch of
Soulless Ginger Lemonade

Soulless? Does it lack the pungency and bite we expect from fresh ginger? No, that's there. It's even more refreshing than the plain version. Soulless because, as even we gingers know, we have no souls.

8oz/250ml fresh lemon juice
8oz/250ml  cool ginger-infused water
5oz/150ml 2:1 ginger syrup

Mix in a pitcher. Chill if you've got time. Pour into glasses over fresh ice.
Of course, if you have ginger syrup on hand already, this is a snap to make. Just use that and plain cool water. Doctor this any way you see fit; blend it with blackberries, spike it with mint or basil, but don't forget the ameliorative effect a stiff dose of bourbon could have on a glass of ginger lemonade. Carbonate the stuff, add a dash of bitters with the bourbon and you've got something pretty close to a Kentucky Mule.

Goes well with:

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