Fresh-Squeezed Lemonade and Limeade

I grew up in the ’80s and ’90s, back when all the lemonade everyone I knew drank was either from a Kool-Aid pouch or in a 2 liter bottle. I was not particularly impressed. The first time I ever had fresh-squeezed lemonade, I was at an amusement park and it made quite the impression on me, but it wasn’t until I was an adult when I realized how easy and delicious it is to make your own fresh-squeezed lemonade and limeade–or mix the two for a really wild time!
This lemonade recipe is easily customizable–you can adjust how much water you add at the end depending on how sweet you want it, and it’s also the perfect base for mixing in fresh fruit syrups, herbs like basil or fresh mint, and even things like jalapeños (which may sound weird, but don’t knock it until you’ve tried it, especially with another flavor dimension like peach).
fresh squeezed lemonade from our best bites

A few notes on ingredients–when you only have a handful of simple ingredients, they all need to be top-notch or you’ll taste something weird. I only use cane sugar (it will say on the bag, but I buy Imperial, C&H, or Domino) because the more inexpensive sugars are made with sugar beets instead of sugar cane and have a mildew-y smell and taste. If you have heavily chlorinated water, make sure you either filter it or consider buying bottled water.

how to make it

To make the lemonade, you’ll start with making a simple syrup by whisking together  some sugar and water in a medium saucepan until the sugar dissolves. Bring to a boil over medium heat and boil for 5 minutes and then remove from heat.

While the simple syrup mixture is cooling, juice the lemons or limes. Add the simple syrup mixture to the fruit juice. This step can be done up to 2 days in advance–just store the lemonade/limeade mix in the refrigerator.

fresh squeezed lemonade from our best bites

A lemonade bar is always fun–set out these syrups, fresh fruit, and herbs and let guests (or your fancy lemonade stand kids) mix up custom lemonades!

fresh fruit mix ins for fresh squeezed lemonade from our best bites

When ready to serve, add the lemonade/limeade mix to up to 8 cups of cold, filtered water (or chilled club soda) and serve over ice. If using syrups, add in desired amount of syrup (start with about 2 tablespoons and go from there) and fresh lemon or lime slices or wedges.

fresh squeezed lemonade from our best bites

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fresh squeezed lemonade from our best bites

Fresh-Squeezed Lemonade and Limeade


Description

Nothing says summer quite like fresh-squeezed lemonade and limeade. This master recipe is perfect just as it is, or feel free to mix in fresh fruit, flavored syrups, or fresh herbs like basil or mint.


Ingredients

1 ¾ cups cane sugar (see notes)
2 cups cold, filtered water
1 ½ cups lemon juice for lemonade or lime juice for limeade (or a mix of both if you’re wild)
8 additional cups water (for sparkling lemonade, substitute 2 liters of sparkling water/club soda)


Instructions

To make the simple syrup, whisk together sugar and 2 cups water in a medium saucepan until the sugar dissolves. Bring to a boil over medium heat and boil for 5 minutes and then remove from heat.

While the simple syrup mixture is cooling, juice the lemons or limes. Add the simple syrup mixture to the fruit juice. This step can be done up to 2 days in advance–just store the lemonade/limeade mix in the refrigerator.

When ready to serve, add the lemonade/limeade mix to up to 8 cups of cold, filtered water (or chilled club soda; adjust water according to taste) and serve over ice.


Notes

ABOUT SUGAR

I don’t always buy name-brand ingredients, but when it comes to sugar, I always do. Many generic or store-brand sugars smell sour or kind of like mildew–that’s because that sugar likely comes from sugar beets instead of sugar cane, simply because it’s cheaper to manufacture sugar from sugar beets. In simple recipes like this homemade lemonade or limeade, that mildew-y smell/taste isn’t masked by other ingredients, so I recommend using a name-brand sugar like Domino, Imperial, or C&H.

to add fresh fruit syrups

Fill a glass half full with ice, add 2-3 tablespoons syrup and any other mix-ins like mint or basil sprigs, jalapeño slices, and/or lemon or lime wedges or slices, then add in lemonade and stir with a straw or long-handled spoon.

37 comments

  1. Mmmmm! This recipe looks really good. Here in KS we are having wacky spring weather (like usual).

    I would also looooove the recipe of the super secret garlic cream cheese! That sounds awesome! Of course, it has garlic in it so you can’t really go wrong. You should have a garlic week! Followed by a mint week!

  2. I too love the lemonade at the deli. Auntie Anne’s is my other favorite. If I ever remember to buy lemons I’ll definitely have to make this. I wish spring would hurrry up and get here!

  3. OK, yeah – I just TOTALLY had a “Oh, that’s who she is!” moment. Seriously – you’ve got to write to me. I think I might have taken photos at your wedding. Which brother did you marry??! LOL

  4. After a weekend teaser of 65 degrees (woohoo!) it is snowing again here 🙁

    I am so excited for summer and I am definitely going to try this. I have never thought of adding lime juice… what a GREAT idea!

  5. FYI-I judge a deli on how good it is by their lemonade…yeah I am a snob!

    I flipped my recipe and did it with limes, pureed the berries and had a choice of blackberry or strawberry lemonade or limeade. Everyone chose a different mix and they were all great!

  6. I’m right there with ya on being a lemon(ade) snob! My in-laws froze a ton of strawberries and blackberries from their garden last year. I take a bag of frozen berries,puree it and add it to the fresh lemonade. Mmm, strawberry lemonade is my ABSOLUTE FAV!

  7. oooh, and while we’re on the subject of super secret recipes, how about the Bagel Deli’s garlic cream cheese?? C’mon Teeny, I know you’re reading this!

  8. I think this post should always stay right at the top of this section because it matches our blog design so well!

    I didn’t know you put lime in it too, I’m going to have to make it- it looks so good!

    And here in Idaho we keep getting teased with warm weather; I’m hoping one of these days it will actually stick around for good.

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