I have mentioned it before, but I love sweet things. I have to administer insane amounts of self control to not bake and eat cookies every day. On the other hand, my boyfriend has never “been one for sweets.” Whatever that means! So this weekend when he requested l make lemonade, I knew trying to balance out sweet and sour was going to be a fun challenge!
The truth is, I had never made lemonade before! I had squirted lemon juice in some mineral water, previously enjoyed lemonade flavored soft drinks, but never have I taken the plunge myself. After cutting soda out of my diet for the last year, I have experienced what most people experience when they stop drinking soda then attempt to drink it again: sugar overload. It is almost a contradiction, that I can enjoy so much cake in one sitting, but find that layer of almost acrid sweet that coats my mouth after I drink soda so unappealing, but there you have it. I did not want that with this lemonade (and of course neither did my boyfriend), however I did want it to be more than just lemons in water (which my boyfriend probably would have enjoyed).
I chose the amount of lemon juice based on the most common amount I could find on the internet, and then diluted it with the amount of water that would fit in my pitcher. There are a handful of sweetening options, which are typically sugars (artificial or otherwise) or honey. I think honey would have probably been delicious, but I was adverse to making a simple syrup. I wanted to conceivably be able to whip up a glass of lemonade, by applying my ratios to a smaller setting, in minutes. Of course that means I chose agave nectar with a sweetness stronger than most sugars (so I could use less of it) and the magical ability to dissolve into cold beverages (my iced coffee!!!).
For my own lemonade, I like to muddle mint leaves (with a bit of sugar to get that grit so they tear apart and release their essential oils!) at the bottom of my cup and add a tiny amount of baking soda to get some fizz. My boyfriend likes it straight out of the pitcher. He told me the amount of sweetness I added was perfect for him (however I can barely taste anything sweet), I thought it was pretty tart but in a wonderful way.
So what makes this lemonade adjustable? Add less lemon juice if you like less sour, and add more agave nectar if you like more sweet! What an easy and simple solution so that everyone is happy! You can even just add agave (or even lemon juice I guess) to your own glass so you get personalized results. Yum!
Makes 2 quarts
1 cup of lemon juice (took me 7 lemons)
1/3 cup of agave syrup (of course add more, up to 3/4 cup)
6 cups of water (or enough to fill your pitcher)
opt: zest of 2-4 lemons, lemon slices
1. Juice all of your lemons! Do not include seeds!
2. Mix lemon juice (and zest if desired, I am unsure if it adds anything but floaty bits) and agave nectar.
3. Add water, taste, add more agave (if desired)!
4. Serve with lemon slices or mint leaves or even some pureed berries YUM!