Nothing compliments rising temperatures like a nice glass of lemonade. Usually freshly home-made by our grandmas, lemonade has been always related to family memories, afternoon at the pool or relaxing day on a patio.
Both puckery and sweet, with sprightly thirst-quencher on a hot afternoon, served ice cold on its own or as part of a picnic spread now it is back in all its glory with a wide range of amazing flavours, based on natural ingredients. Invigorated by a new foodie culture, the last decade has seen a wholesale resurgence of these soft drinks. Manufacturers are digging out traditional recipes and reverting to real ingredients to appeal to more sophisticated adult palates. Yes, lemonade is all grown up now and often comes in quirky flavours with herbs or spices based on fermented fruit or from vegetables like beets or cucumber.
Known by many different names (lemonade, syrup, cordial or squash), sold in small or big bottles, in pretty shapes and with beautiful labels, either still, cloudy or sparkling, lemonade always ticklish our tastebuds. But not every glass is the same and some can be too sugary or too tart.
Our favourite Lemonades
Here are our 3 best store-bought lemonades. Why only three? Because, believe it or not, a good lemonade is hard to find.
Fentimans has been making natural botanical drinks for over 100 years. Its artisanal drinks are brewed for 7 days using the time-honoured botanical brewing process. The result is a superior drink that tastes simply delicious. With the juice of one and a half lemons in every bottle, for real refreshment, their cloudy Victorian Lemonade takes some beating. Inspired by traditional homemade lemonades, it has a refreshingly sharp taste with a rounded lemon flavour. Made with lemons carefully sourced from Spain, the result is a refreshing, full-bodied drink packed full of flavour.
Created by Marcel-Alcide Rième in 1921, the sparkling “La Mortuacienne” would over time become the emblematic product of the Maison Rième. Ask any true Franc-Comtois and they’ll tell you: “La Mortuacienne is THE artisanal lemonade, a cherished childhood favourite”. The Original recipe (only slightly sweet but refreshingly tart, with hints of lemon and lime, and plenty of delicate bubbles), unchanged for nearly a century, is available today in 7 refreshing flavours.
Better known for their special Indian tonic water, Fever-Tree produces also a great lemonade. With the aroma and taste of freshly squeezed lemons, including ‘Sfumatrice-Torchio’ extracts of Sicilian lemons, it’s cloudy and sparkling. Perfectly balanced to be mixed with the finest fruit cups, vodkas or gins, it’s equally delicious as a sophisticated soft drink on its own. By using a process called ‘sfumatrice’, normally only employed by expert perfumiers, Fever-Tree is able to take both the oils from the peel and the juice from the fruit of Sicilian lemons to create a sweeter, more rounded and delicate flavour. The spring water they use in this drink is carbonated with very fine bubbles to produce a silky mouthfeel. To this, they add the fruit juice and the oils from the peel of Sicilian lemons and naturally sourced cane sugar that makes for an amazingly zingy and refreshing lemonade with no cloying aftertaste.
Lemonade: A bit of History
Although it’s hard to find its true origin, many would say that lemonade first appeared in Egypt around 1000 AD, after lemons had made their way in from China. By the mid 1600’s vendors in France had essentially monopolised the beverage, and wandered around the streets serving it from backpack tanks.
The American version of lemonade can be referred to as “cloudy” lemonade, which has a typical obstructed appearance, a result of the combination of raw lemon fruit juice and water.
Other forms of lemonade exist as well, such as pink and clear lemonade. Pink lemonade refers to the colour the lemonade becomes after extra ingredients such as grenadine and strawberry juice are added. Clear lemonade often refers to carbonated versions.
How to Make Lemonade – A Recipe
Lemonade can be made in several different ways, and with several different added ingredients for varied flavours. Here is a basic lemonade recipe.
Serves 6 to 8
6 cups cold water
2 cups lemon juice (takes roughly 8-10 lemons)
1 cup of sugar
dash of salt
Juicer (citrus squeezer, hand juicer, wooden reamer, automatic juicer, or whatever works.)
Begin by getting the lemon juice out of your lemons. Before juicing them, spend a few second rolling them on a flat surface while applying pressure from your hand. This will loosen up the juice inside the lemon and make it easier to get more out of it.