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    Real Lemonade

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    Real Lemonade

    On a hot day, there are few sights more welcome than a bottle of freshly made, iced lemonade. There are several ways of making it, varying from the incredibly simple to the frankly overcomplicated. The method below is the one I use frequently during the summer months – it's quick and very straightforward. The variations on the lemonade theme are numerous – you can obviously replace lemons with limes or oranges in varying proportion, dilute the juice with still water instead of sparkling, perfume the concoction with a shot of orange blossom water or add a few spoonfuls of ginger syrup from the stem ginger jar for a little kick. Replacing some of the water with white wine throws it instantly into adult territory, while red wine will give the drink a Spanish slant. According to a brilliant but fanciful story, an American 19th-century circus man first created pink lemonade when he made the drink with water that had been used to rinse his trapeze artists' red tights (bleugh!). Actually, most pink lemonade is simply dyed with a little beetroot juice. For a far more appealing homemade version, add a shot of grenadine or throw a handful of raspberries into the processor along with the lemons. If you want to make fizzy lemonade in advance, be economical with the water when processing to give a concentrated juice. Chill this in the fridge until needed, then dilute it with a very fizzy water just before serving.

    • Vegetarian
    • Preparation time: 15 minutes
    • Total time: 15 minutes 15 minutes

    Serves: 4

    Ingredients

    • 3 unwaxed lemons
    • 100g sugar – more or less depending on taste
    • 1 litre water, still or sparkling
    • Ice cubes
    • Sprigs of mint

    Method

    1. Cut the lemons up into rough chunks, skin and all, discarding the ends. Pile the lemons into your processor with a third of the sugar and enough still water to almost cover them. Process to a mush, then strain. Return the debris to the processor and add another third of the sugar and more water. Repeat the process and combine with the first ‘pressing'.
    2. Now taste and stir in more sugar or top up with sparkling water, depending on the sharp-sweet ratio you prefer. Decant the lemonade into a jug, add ice cubes and sprigs of mint and serve.

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