Raspberry Lemonade

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Those dog days of summer beg for something refreshing and delish to sip slowly whilst you bask under the beauty and warmth of the summer sun. I’m a sucker for any type of fruit combined with lemonade and this combination of raspberries and lemon is arguably my favourite. This raspberry lemonade is the perfect balance of sweet and tart with the sweetness of farm-fresh raspberries with just enough pucker to remind you that you’re enjoying a drink made with tart lemons. If you’re not a raspberry fan, you can easily replace them with strawberries or blueberries or any other berry that tickles your fancy. If you have any mint on hand, infuse the lemonade with mint for some colour variation and more deliciousness. 

Lemonade is synonymous with summer time and this gorgeous pink lemonade is the perfect addition to any barbecue or pool side party. It’s ridiculously refreshing, free of additives and preservatives (unlike the bottled and powdered varieties which contain questionable amounts of high-fructose corn syrup, aspartame and other ingredients that shouldn’t find their way into drinks you’ll be sharing with your kids this summer). And the best part about this? The gorgeous blush pink colour that’ll have you swooning and thanking the heavens that summer has arrived!

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You’ll begin first by making a simple syrup by combining equals parts sugar and water until the sugar dissolves. You have to allow this mixture to cool before combining it with the rest of the lemonade mixture, so make sure to keep a close eye on this and only bring the temperature up long enough for the sugar to dissolve but not so long that it boils; if it gets to the boiling point, you’ll have to wait much too long for it to cool which means it’ll be that much longer before you’ll be enjoying this ambrosial drink! 

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This recipe is perfect for raspberries that are very ripe and edging closely into ‘too-soft-to-eat-straight-out-of-the-container’ territory. The softer they are, the easier they will puree in the blender. 

DSC_0162 DSC_0165 DSC_0167 The raspberries should be pureed very finely to pulverize as many of those pesky seeds as possible. The mixture will later be strained before adding it to the pitcher, so don’t be too concerned if your blender isn’t as effective at eliminating seeds as you’d like it to be. 

DSC_0170 Strain the puree through a medium-fine sieve. If the sieve is too fine, it will take ages to push it through. However, bear in mind that the medium sieve will allow some of the seed remnants to get through so if you prefer a completely seed-free lemonade, strain the mixture again through a fine sieve (after you’ve passed it through the medium-fine sieve). If you opt to just run it through one sieve, there will still be very few seeds and most of them sink to the bottom in any case. 

DSC_0172 DSC_0179 DSC_0183 I may be alone in this, but I love (love!) when freshly squeezed lemonade contains little juicy pieces of fleshy pulp. The pulp, as it sits in the pitcher, begins to absorb the juice which surrounds it (an osmosis of sorts as my scientific father pointed out whilst he enjoyed a tall glass of this lemonade) filling the pulp with liquid. When you pop the pulp between your teeth, little explosions of tart flavour burst out of the pulp pieces, making your lemonade-drinking experience all the more enjoyable. To that end, after passing the lemon juice through a small strainer, use a spoon to scoop out the collected seeds and then put the pulp that remains on top of the strainer into the pitcher. If you prefer a perfectly clear lemonade, discard the pulp instead. 

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Raspberry Lemonade

1 cup     granulated sugar
1 1/2 cup     water, divided
1 cup (8 ounces or 250 ml)     lemon juice, freshly squeezed (about 6 lemons)
1 cup     raspberries (plus extra raspberries for garnish)
4 1/2-6 cups     cold water
Lemon wedges and wheels for garnish

Place the sugar and 1 cup of water in a small saucepan over medium heat to make a simple syrup. Allow the sugar to dissolve, stirring occasionally to expedite the process. Remove from heat when dissolved and allow the syrup to cool completely.

Place the raspberries and 1/2 cup of water in a blender (or food processor) and puree the mixture for about a minute until the raspberries are completely pulverized. Push the puree through a medium-fine mesh sieve. Discard the seeds and place the smooth raspberry puree in a large pitcher. Juice the lemons using a juicer or a reamer over a fine mesh strainer. Using a spoon, fish out the collected seeds and discard and add the pulp collected on top of the strainer to the pitcher, if desired. (For a clear pulp-free lemonade, discard the pulp.) Add the lemon juice and the cooled simple syrup to the pitcher.

Start by adding 4 1/2 cups of cold water to the pitcher. Taste the lemonade and add more cold water as needed. The amount of water you use will ultimately depend on your palate, so add as much as you’d like to achieve the perfect balance of sweet and tart. Slice a lemon into wedges to dress the sides of tall lemonade glasses and slice lemon wheels to add to the pitcher for beauty and to indicate to your guests that your pitcher contains lemonade. 

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