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.
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!