No Ordinary Lemonade

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No Ordinary Lemonade

When Paula decided to host a large garden reception at her home in the heat of summer, she wanted her guests to have something cool to sip on as they arrived for the event.  Lemonade was her first choice. 

Maybe because of the nostalgic holdover from childhood, but more importantly as a cook she wanted something refreshing with a feel good sensation. 

Paula, like Brandon and myself doesn’t like to do things in any ordinary way, so we collectively decided on a fresh squeezed Watermelon Lemonade Punch served in large Crystal decanters for the event.  Her guests are still talking about how beautiful the presentation and delicious the drink was. 

Make your lemonade special this summer.  Don’t be afraid to try any combination of flavors.  There really isn’t anything that doesn’t work.  I actually had Jalapeno Lemonade once in Santa Fe, NM that was extraordinary.  Enjoy Paula’s recipe along with an amazing Roasted Lemon and Vanilla Lemonade that our own Phil Peterman and his beautiful wife Julie like to make.  I’m still waiting on an invitation to their house to have a glass myself!

Also, take advantage of the abundance of lemons this winter, when they truly come into season, and freeze some freshly squeezed juice. Make yourself a glass of fresh lemonade during a cold winter month.  Close your eyes and dream of the warmth of Paula’s summer garden reception.

Watermelon Lemonade Punch

The Peterman’s Roasted Lemon Vanilla Lemonade


10 Meyer Lemons (1 to 1 1/2 Cups juice), halved (can substitute any variety of lemons)
1 cup sugar
1 cup water
1 vanilla bean, split and scraped
3 to 4 cups sparkling water or club soda to dilute
Mint sprigs for garnish


On a cool section of your grill place the lemons cut side up, roast the lemons until the edges of the skin begin to brown, about 20-30 minutes.
On your stovetop place sugar, water and vanilla pulp in a sauté pan and bring to a mild simmer.  Stir till sugar dissolves completely.
Place a sieve on top of your blender and squeeze lemons through the sieve into the blender. Press the sieved mixture to remove any extra juice from the lemon pulp
Pour the sugar water mixture through the sieve to remove vanilla pulp into the blender. Puree until fully blended.
Pour lemonade concentrate into a pitcher
Dilute lemonade concentrate with 3 to 4 cups of sparkling water or club soda to taste

Serve over ice

You can optionally garnish with a sprig of mint and/or add a bit of grated ginger to the pan when dissolving the sugar/vanilla mixture.

Cook’s Note: Roasting the lemons gives them a smoky flavor and reduces their acidity.  Adding a touch of vanilla makes this drink especially refreshing.  We used Meyer lemons, but just about any type of lemon should do. The lemonade will keep up to 3 days in the refrigerator but we’ve never had it last that long!

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Reader Comments:

I know we’re all trying to save money right now!  The Savannah Beverage decanter from Southern Living at Home (reg. $129) is free in August with a $500 party (even a catalog party). For details, visit and go to August Specials.
For pictures of the decanter, visit

By SouthernDesigns on July 29, 2009

Where can you purchase the glass dispenser?

By Debbie Jessee on July 28, 2009

When my daughter and I visited Savannah in 2007 and took the Paula Deen tour, Uncle Bubba’s used decanters like these. Then we saw them at a little shop called One Fish, Two Fish( When we visited again in 2008, they didn’t have them anymore :-( But the store might be able to tell you where else you might find them.

By Gail Hoffman on July 28, 2009

Hi, Yesterday I was watching a show from 2004.  Paula was making frozen yogurt. She had on a yellow blouse. She put the yogurt in these beautiful light green china that looked like Jewels and Shells china.  When my Grandma passed away I had the honor of getting this china. I would LOVE to know where or how I can get that beautiful set.  Can anyone help? Thanks, Kristy~

By Kristy Powers on July 17, 2009

no, I didn’t have time. I just poured it into pretty pitcher.

By Wezi on July 07, 2009

How fun!!! We are drying out in Indy! So Wezi, did you get a decanter?

By Mrs. Lucky on July 07, 2009

Glad to hear your guests enjoyed the Watermelon Lemonade as much as Paula’s guests.  Stay warm and dry in Maine!

By Libbie Summers on July 07, 2009

HI, I made the punch for the 4th party & it was great! Some thought it was enhanced with the addition of vodka, but I enjoyed mine plain. It’s a keeper! I did add the pulp after trying a bit in my own glass. It wasn’t much different from OJ with pulp. I did use a seedl
ess watermelon so the tiny bits of seeds were minimal.
Wezi in soggy Maine!

By Wezi on July 07, 2009

Thanks for info on where to find decanter. Hope that you can purchase online! It’s beautiful!

By Kristi Norman on July 04, 2009

Sounds great Libbie! I’ll give it a try IF summer EVER arrives!!!!!
Have a great day tomorrow, Wezi

By Wezi B on July 03, 2009

Just want to let everyone know that Southern Living at Home has a beautiful hand-blown glass decanter with a lid and iron base. It’s the Savannah Beverage Server on page 21. You can see it in the catalog on the website at
Go to “Our Products”. My guests enjoy helping themselves and it’s so pretty with fruit in the tea or lemonade.

By SouthernDesigns on July 03, 2009

Hey Wezi! I like to keep a glass bottle of water in the fridge and infuse it with herbs, citrus and especially watermelon in the summer.  It is so refreshing coming in from our Savannah heat and having a glass.

By Libbie Summers on July 03, 2009

OK, I’ve just finished with the watermelon. I used a food processor. It holds more. I am debating using some of the pulp. I used a seedless melon, so what is left is about the texture of OJ pulp & my fa,ily likes that. It just seems wasteful to toss 2 cups of something we might love. I’ll let you know.Finish in the am

By Wezi B on July 03, 2009

That is so cool John!  I’m sure it was beautiful!  Thank you for sharing.

By Libbie Summers on July 03, 2009

This is great served this for the 4th in grandmothers’ antique crystal urns that she actually got in Paris, France.  Huge Success.  Y’all have a wonderful 4th and keep safe!

By John Kaiser on July 03, 2009

Chari, The decanters were purchased at  It is an eclectic and amazing store here in Savannah.

By Libbie Summers on July 03, 2009

Wezi, It sounds like a stunning area.  I’ll be up your way in August for a few days.

By Libbie Summers on July 03, 2009

That picture looks like it was from Bubba and Dawn’s wedding. Hope things are going well for them. She is just darling!!

By Patty Hall on July 03, 2009

HI Libbie, I live in Waterville. It is on I95 about an hour in from the coast & 1/2 hour up from the capitol of Augusta on the Kennebec River & an hour north of L.L.Bean! This is the home of Colby College & Chinet paper plates.It is a small city of about 15000 people. Lots of great things to do.  I guess a glacier must have melted here eons ago & left the area polka dotted with lakes
Have a great holiday weekend. Wezi

By Wezi Bowker on July 03, 2009

Where can I purchase a serving container like the one shown in the photo?  It will be perfect for large family gatherings!


By Chari Gandy Riggs on July 03, 2009

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