Fresh Squeezed Lemonade with Mint

homemade mint lemonade

Have you ever tried to make fresh squeezed lemonade? Because it is the bomb and so, so easy. Seriously, you will thank me later. In fact, it may change your entire summer. Promise. Have I convinced you to try it, yet? I had actually never made my own fresh squeezed lemonade until the summer of 1995 when I reached the apparent maximum on my lemonade spending allowance. Didn’t know there was such a thing as a lemonade allowance? Me either, until I had one. Let’s back up a bit shall we? Growing up, my family spent every summer in the then-sleepy beach town of Seaside, Florida. Some may recognize the location from The Truman Show, which launched the beginning of the New Seaside as we now know it. Hardly recognizable these days. True Hollywood Story.

sugar, mint, lemons

Back in 1995, there was only one grocery store within a 30-mile radius of Seaside. This small market named Modica Market (after the Modica family who founded it) was a true small town gem. The entire Modica family worked at the store, and they always, always remembered your name. Then again, I had frequented the store at least once a day for three months every single year since the age of four so I guess they probably should have known my name. Eating homemade waffles for breakfast with whipped cream and berries. Drinking Jolt after lunch because it supposedly had three times the amount of caffeine as regular Coke (we were so wild!). And dropping by on my way home from the beach for their refreshing, homemade lemonade. It was the best. And since my sister and I usually had at least three friends each in tow, we kept their lemonade business running pretty steadily. “Make mine sweeter, Charlie!” we would yellow from across the counter. Oh the memories.

lemons-and-juice

That is, until one rainy day in the summer of 1995. Okay, it may not have been raining, but it sure felt gloomy, overcast even. My dad called my sister and I into the den asking if we really had ordered almost $500 worth of lemonade. Us? Order that much lemonade? Why, that is just silly! Crazy talk! We would never, ever spend that much on lemonade! Oh, they are $4 each? No, we did not realize that. But they are so good, Dad. And you get your own plastic Modica Market cup to take home. What a deal! Okay, okay. We get it. No more charging lemonades. Sigh.

And that was that. Apparently, at the tender ages of 11 and 12, we did not realize that at least 8 lemonades each and every day would ring up quite the bill. “No, you can’t buy the entire town lemonades,” my dad said. Harsh, I know. I was thinking the exact same thing. Not one to take defeat lightly, I set about learning how to make my own Modica Market-style lemonade. And with a little help from Charlie Modica (and by help, I mean very, very explicit instructions), I was on my way to homemade lemonade bliss in no time. And we went through pounds and pounds of lemons that summer. And for this reason, summer always makes me crave fresh squeezed lemonade.

So, after walking Henry the dog around the block on Sunday, I had the urgent need for homemade lemonade. Crystal Light powder wasn’t going to cut it this time. I needed the tartness that only fresh lemons can give and the sweetness that could only be achieved from an infused simple syrup. So, I squeezed lemon after lemon, steeped mint leaves in a sugary water syrup (to update it a bit), and waited patiently as the lemonade chilled. And then I made two glasses, one for Andrew the H and one for me. I sipped the lemonade first surprised and elated that it actually tasted even better than I had remembered. This seems to happen every time I make it; it gets better and better and better. And then I did something crazy. Then I added vodka. Because a vodka lemonade truly is the best grown-up lemonade drink. No, I take that back. The best grown-up lemonade drink is a frozen vodka lemonade. So, I threw it in the blender. And we enjoyed frozen vodka lemonades on our “porch.” And we lived happily ever after. The end.

Fresh Squeezed Lemonade with Mint
Inspired by Modica Market
{Serves about 4 to 6 people}

5.5 cups water, divided
1.5 cups sugar
2 cups fresh squeezed lemonade (juice from about 10-12 lemons)
1/4 cup fresh mint leaves

Pour 1.5 cups of water into a small saucepan. Stir in 1.5 cups of sugar. Add half of the mint sprigs. Bring sugar/water mixture to a boil and cook until sugar is dissolved. Remove from heat and let cool. Discard mint sprigs. You now have mint infused simple syrup! For regular lemonade, skip the mint step.

In a large pitcher, combine 2 cups lemon juice, 4 cups of water, and 1 cup of mint infused simple syrup. Taste. Add more simple syrup if you prefer a sweeter lemonade. Add remaining mint sprigs and chill in the refrigerator for at least an hour. Serve over ice with a slice of lemon and a sprig of mint!

Note: If chilling overnight, remove mint sprigs after an hour or so as the flavor can turn somewhat bitter if the leaves are left too long in the pitcher.

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14 thoughts on “Fresh Squeezed Lemonade with Mint

  1. whitney

    Y.U.M.
    and a special thanks to DR for allowing us a few summers of unadulterated bliss where the lemonade flowed like water!

    Reply
  2. Mike

    Fresh squeezed lemonade is fantastic. I’m going to have to remember this recipe when my mint plant starts getting crazy again!

    Reply
    1. brooke Post author

      Hi Mary,

      I actually have one of the handheld citrus juicers – similar to this one from Williams Sonoma. I use it all the time to juice lemons and limes for tons of recipes! It is definitely worth the $20!

      Reply
  3. Mike P.

    Summer in a cup right there. I always end up making several glasses of homemade lemonade throughout summer. So simple, yet so delicious. Great post.

    Reply
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