Once the juice is strained of excess pulp and seeds, and the simple syrup is cooled, you are ready to mix your lemonade. This can be done up to two days in advance. Also, be careful not to add too much water. The lemonade should be slightly concentrated because the ice in the glass will dilute it a bit. For that reason, I never add the ice to the pitcher, only to the glasses.
Experiment with making this same basic recipe with limes, Meyer lemons and oranges, scaling back on the simple syrup based on the sweetness of the fruit. And once you master the base recipe, you are ready to try variations.
My favorite is strawberry lemonade, but don’t stop there. Try any summer berry, honeydew melon, peaches and summer herbs. I use the rule of thumb that 2 cups of ripe fruit should yield more or less a cup of juice once it is strained. I use my juicer, but you can use a blender and a fine mesh strainer just as easily.
You also can freeze this fruit juice into ice cubes and serve the lemonade over fruit ice. The flavor variation will be more delicate, but it is pretty and you will get more and more fruit flavor as the ice melts. If I make the lemonade in a pitcher or a large Mason jar, I float thin slices of lemon or berries in it for a refreshing and pretty summertime look.
ROCKING CHAIR LEMONADE
For a rustic presentation, serve in mismatched canning jars. Then, just sit back in an old rocking chair on the porch, and let summer begin! If you are concerned that the lemonade will be too sweet, start with 1/2 cup or 3/4 cup of the sugar syrup, then taste before adding more.
Start to finish: 30 minutes (10 minutes active)