We all ran around in shock on Sunday afternoon. A previously shy sun shone and we revelled in the joy/bedlam/disaster and noise of a dozen near five year olds.
In preparation for this moment, the sun shining for the first time in a month, I needed something delicious and thirst-quenching. Something a little sweet but not teeth-rotting. Something that tastes like sunny days, and I don't mean sunscreen and sandy hand mauled sandwiches. Pimm's No. 1 Cup, while perfectly fitting the delicious and thirst-quenching order, isn't perfectly suited to five year olds for obvious reasons. While the non-heavy machinery operating adults quaffed their Pimm's, those in charge of vehicles and the children would need to drink something else.
My grandmother used to make a lemonade syrup, the recipe was handed down and my mother made it for us. That was back in the day when I thought that a certain powdered beverage, often electric blue, to which you add sugar and water was the ultimate in cool person drinks. So, something as homemade as lemonade made from a syrup, which didn't get squeezed from a plastic container, was not something high on my street cred growing list.
Years pass and then the very same lemonade syrup, or one very similar, shows up at the summer market and it lights a little fire in the back of my brain and I get to thinking, this is probably much easier than summer market chappy is making it out to be with his 'secret recipe' and 'even more secret ingredient' chatter.
Turns out that it really is and after wading around on the internet in a 'there is how much sugar in that' eye-bulging anxiety attack, and with a very little experimentation, I came up with this and I think it is pretty good.
I like it to have the pulp left in, so I did. You could strain it but, I think, you'll be sacrificing lemony goodness. I suggest, if you don't have a self-straining juicer, to juice everything into a measuring cup and then strain the seeds out, you can push the pulp through with the juice.
This is just as delicious with some club soda and muddled mint leaves and heck, while you're there you may as well just chuck a little white rum or vodka in and celebrate the sunshine with a lemon mojito. Not that I would ever do anything like that.
Lemonade Syrup (makes about three pints)
3 cups sugar
1 cup water
1/4 cup lemon zest
juice of 18 lemons (about 3 1/2 cups)
Bring sugar, water and lemon zest to a boil and let cool.
When cool, stir in lemon juice. Transfer to a clean bottle and refrigerate.
Mix to taste.