Every time someone mentions lemonade I instantly hear Eddie Murphys’ spot-on Elvis Presley impersonation from his still great stand-up comedy video, Delirious, singing “Lemonade … that cool refreshing drink,” as probably many of you do. In all honesty, I hadn’t had a glass of lemonade in over a decade until for some strange reason about a week ago, I found myself staring at a shopping bag full of lemons courtesy of a neighbors’ tree. You’re probably thinking the classic Dale Carnegie adage, “When life gives you lemons … ” popped into my head. Well, only sort of. I actually flashbacked to another standup comedian, Ron White, who’s sage take on the matter rings a bit more true: “When life gives you lemons, make lemonade … and then find somebody whose life has given them vodka and have a party.” Amen, Ron.
Needless to say, I made all sorts of drinks with these lemons – child-friendly and adults-only versions - all with fantastic results, and all of which would make a perfect summer thirst-quencher or tipple.
If there’s one thing Food Network personality, Ina Garten, knows how to do, it’s throw a party. Her take on Fresh Lemonade is as expected – awesome. If you can handle four ingredients, which include ice and water, I don’t see why all systems wouldn’t be a go here. Blending it up with crushed ice and then serving over ice is a stroke of genius.
Boozed up lemonade typically calls for a clear liquor, vodka, the usual suspect. Anne Burrell, God bless her, offers up her spiked lemonade that goes the bourbon route. You don’t have to be south of the Mason-Dixon line to enjoy a frosty highball filled with good bourbon, homemade lemonade with a mint leaf kick and a blast of club soda
Tyler Florence’s Arnold Palmer proves that making this at home with fresh ingredients beats anything you’ll find at a supermarket, even if old Arnie’s face graces the carton. And if you use English Breakfast for the tea half of the equation, expect great flavor. To spike it up, go with vodka for this one. No need to switch up the tea, but adding fresh mint is always a solid idea.
Leave it to Bobby Flay to up the ante by adding Sauvignon Blanc and a bunch of fresh fruit for his crazy delicious Arnold Palmer Sangria. If bubbles are your thing, feel free to sub in Prosecco for the white wine. For kids or non-drinkers, sparkling white grape juice is the call.
Lemonade is so easy to make and so refreshingly delicious, not to mention inexpensive, that you’d be crazy not to brew up a batch or two this summer. Just make it a big batch because the stuff has a tendency to disappear fast.