When it comes to outdoor summer gatherings, plenty of cold beverages are a must! We always fill a tub (like this colorful rope handle tub) full of ice to make it easy for the kids to grab a bottle of water or a juice box, and then I'll typically make some homemade lemonade or sweet tea, as well.
My kids are BIG fans of homemade lemonade! However, I try to limit the amount of sugary drinks they consume, so it's not an everyday drink in our household. For special occasions we'll make these homemade lemon shake-ups. You know, like the ones you get at the fair -- yum!!!
But when I need a larger quantity for guests, we go with this easy homemade lemonade recipe. It makes one gallon (including ice), which is the perfect amount for this adorable mason jar beverage dispenser that I recently picked up at Walmart. It's a total steal at just $7.88!
I also truly appreciate that it has a bail and trigger dispenser, instead of a turning spigot. Why? Well, speaking as someone who once had her kitchen floor flooded with two gallons of iced tea after a guest accidentally brushed a spigot while walking past, let's just say it's an absolute necessity.
How To Make Homemade Lemonade
Making homemade lemonade requires a little muscle to juice the lemons, but after that, it's smooth sailing! Of course, you can always opt for an electric juice reamer. This Black & Decker Handy Juicer is quite a bargain at $13.59, but for the frequency of use in my kitchen, I'd just as soon do it by hand to reduce the clutter. If you make lemonade often (or maybe margaritas?!?), the it might be an essential purchase for you, though!
Tip: Get more juice out of your lemons by firmly rolling them on the countertop under the palm of your hand before slicing and juicing.
Once you have your fresh-squeezed lemon juice, it's just a matter of adding some of my staple double strength simple syrup, cold filtered water, and plenty of ice. Use my recipe as a starting point. We like our lemonade on the tart side, but if you like it sweeter, simply add more simple syrup or use less lemon juice.
Tip: If you have the extra time, juice your lemons earlier in the day and refrigerate the juice for a few hours before preparing the lemonade. It will give your lemonade a more mellow, yet truer, citrus flavor.
When setting up a lemonade beverage station for an outdoor gathering, I like to have several glasses prepped and ready to go with ice and lemon slices. Bright and cheery paper straws are always a nice added touch, as is a bowl of fresh fruit. Strawberries are amazing with fresh homemade lemonade!
Do you prefer your lemonade super sweet or on the tart side?