When the hot days roll around, my interest piques for lemonades and Arnold Palmers. Even on a cooler, grey day, there’s something about an infused lemonade that brightens the mood — and even better if you can share with a friend.
I have a
slight serious obsession with lavender lemonade. And I have opinions on how to make it. So, let’s dive right in on my advice for how to make infused lemonades — lavender, and more.
Make or Buy Your Base?
While Plum Deluxe has no end of recipes on how to make things from scratch, I generally don’t like to make my own lemonade. That’s just my preference, but it is simple to make. I suggest Paula Deen’s recipe (no, there isn’t butter in it); having equal amounts of sugar, lemon, and hot water for the base makes for a balanced lemonade.
In our house, we drink Newman’s Own Virgin Lemonade. In general, you want to look for lemonades where water is the first ingredient and there is NO high fructose corn syrup. This applies also to pink lemonade and orangeade.
For the powdered lemonade mix, I don’t like the popular Country Time brand at all. I prefer True Citrus, which uses crystallized lemon.
Now for the Infused Lemonade
On our herb mix-ins page, where you can purchase the fresh organic herbs you need to make your infused lemonade, we have a standard recommendation of 1 tablespoon of herb per 5 cups of liquid.
Here are some of my favorite infusions:
- lavender (of course! the best!), rose (with red rose buds), or lavender + rose
- basil + grapefruit
Fresh fruit is also great to add to your infusions, especially summer flavors like strawberry or peach! Make your own lavender combo, such as peach ginger, strawberry basil, or peach elderflower.
(During the summer, we sell tea at lavender festivals, and I often get asked if our lavender packets are edible or if they are culinary lavender. The truth is that “culinary lavender” is just a specific strain of lavender, which is what most teas are made of — including ours. )
If you are wanting to do tea-infused lemonade, you can actually steep your tea in the lemonade as opposed to making tea and then doing half tea/half lemonade as for an Arnold Palmer. Steeping right in the lemonade results in less of the tea flavor than in the Arnold Palmer, but also has the benefit of far less caffeine. To infuse tea, just use 1 teaspoon of tea per 5 cups of lemonade; put the tea in a cheesecloth and steep it in the lemonade overnight. My favorite teas to steep in lemonade are Reading Nook, Hammock Blend, Vista Blend, Summer Breakfast, and Inner Calm Green Tea.
Make it Sparkling
Adding some fizz or bubbles to your infused lemonade is a way to up the pizzazz and thirst-quenching, feel-good vibes. To keep it simple, I suggest adding 1 cup of fizzy water (or champagne!) per 1.5 cups of lemonade. You might want to experiment with more or less depending on what you are adding.
I recently made an infusion with Perrier’s Lemon/Orange water. It was fantastic and adds a luxurious flavor profile to your infusion!
No matter how you make your infused lemonade, have fun with it and experiment!