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strawberry lemonade in glasses

Credit: Photo: Joe Lingeman; Food Styling: Amelia Rampe

Nothing screams summer like a glass of ice-cold strawberry lemonade. When I was growing up, my family was partial to the kind you make using Crystal Light powder, but, like most other things, strawberry lemonade tastes so much better when it’s made from scratch.

With just a few simple ingredients, you can make a pitcher of strawberry lemonade that’s guaranteed to be a crowd-pleaser. It’s perfect for lemonade stands and family cookouts alike, and — if you’re hanging with a 21+ crowd — it’s delicious with a shot of your favorite liquor. Here’s how to make this extra-special summertime treat.

Credit: Photo: Joe Lingeman; Food Styling: Amelia Rampe

What Is Strawberry Lemonade Made Of?

You only need five ingredients to make strawberry lemonade.

  1. Strawberries: Opt for the juiciest, ripest strawberries you can find, which will make for the sweetest, most flavorful drink.
  2. Lemons: If you have time, let the lemons come to room temperature before squeezing them with a handheld juicer, which will help you get as much juice out of them as possible.
  3. Sugar: Strawberries are sweet, but not sweet enough to counteract all of those puckery lemons. Because the lemonade is made in the blender, the sugar is guaranteed to dissolve.
  4. Water: I find the perfect ratio to be 4 cups water to 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar. If you like your lemonade less sweet, add more cold water 1/4 cup at a time.
  5. Ice: To avoid diluting your drink, add the ice to individual glasses instead of the pitcher.

The process is easy: Blend the strawberries, lemon juice, and sugar until the strawberries are puréed and the sugar dissolves, then pour the mixture through a fine-mesh strainer into a pitcher. Stir in cold water and your drink is complete!

Credit: Photo: Joe Lingeman; Food Styling: Amelia Rampe

The Case for Freshly Squeezed Lemon Juice

I know it’s quicker and easier to buy a bottle of lemon juice from the store, but I can assure you the taste of freshly squeezed lemon juice is the key to the best homemade lemonade. If you grab a friend (or your kids) and bust out the citrus juicer, it will go quickly!  

If you know you’ll want to make more lemonade in the future, juice extra lemons and store the juice in the freezer until you’re ready for your next batch. (I like to freeze the juice in ice cube trays, then transfer them to a freezer bag). When it’s drink time, it will feel just as easy as grabbing a bottle of the store-bought stuff, but you’ll be rewarded with the taste of freshly squeezed juice.

Credit: Photo: Joe Lingeman; Food Styling: Amelia Rampe

3 Twists on Strawberry Lemonade

The best thing about lemonade is that it’s a blank canvas for so many flavors. Here are my favorite ways to play around with this recipe.

  1. Swap in other berries: If you’ve got raspberries or blueberries on hand, swap them in for some or all of the strawberries.
  2. Try sparkling water: For a bubbly beverage, use sparkling water (or a sparkling wine, such as Cava) in place of still. Serve immediately to make sure the drink keeps its sparkle.
  3. Add a shot of liquor: A little gin or vodka will turn this pitcher into a party.

Credit: Photo: Joe Lingeman; Food Styling: Amelia Rampe

How To Make Strawberry Lemonade

YieldServes 4 to 6

Prep time 10 minutes to 15 minutes

Ingredients

  • 2 cups

    strawberries (10 to 12 ounces)

  • 2 pounds

    lemons (8 to 10 medium)

  • 1 cup

    plus 2 tablespoons granulated sugar

  • 4 cups

    cold water, plus more as needed

  • Ice

Equipment

Instructions

  1. Prep the strawberries and squeeze the lemons. Hull and quarter 2 cups fresh strawberries. Place in a blender. Juice 2 pounds lemons until you have 1 1/2 cups juice. Add the juice to the blender.

  2. Make the strawberry mixture and strain. Add 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons granulated sugar and blend on high speed until the strawberries are puréed and the sugar is dissolved, 20 to 25 seconds. Pour the mixture through a fine-mesh strainer into a 2-quart or larger pitcher. Discard the contents of the strainer.

  3. Add the water and serve over ice. Add 4 cups cold water to the pitcher and stir until thoroughly combined. Taste the strawberry lemonade; if it’s too intense, add more cold water 1/4 cup at a time as needed. Serve the strawberry lemonade over ice.

Recipe Notes

Storage: Leftover strawberry lemonade can be refrigerated for up to 4 days.

 

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