Lemons, water and sugar. That’s about all it takes to make lemonade. The recipe’s so simple, it’s practically begging for an upgrade. So we’ve rounded up 12 ingredients you’ll want to use next time you make this summertime favorite—and they go way beyond the expected berries and fruit.
Looking for a spicier take on the summer favorite? The heat from this hot pepper is balanced out by the sweetness of macerated strawberries in this recipe from Serious Eats. Sweet and spicy? Sold.
Peppers aren’t the only way to give your lemonade an unexpected kick. This punchy version from the blog Love & Olive Oil uses chopped bits of the herb’s root to create a simple syrup, then ups the spice factor even more by adding ginger juice at the very end.
A mint-infused tea made from hibiscus is blended with minty lemonade for a tangy and floral combination brought to you by The Little Epicurean. The final combination, writes the blog’s Maryanne Cabrera, is "sweet, sour, floral and herbal."
The juice of the summer root vegetable provides both the sweetness and deep red color for this unexpected concoction from Wisconsin Cheese via FoodieCrush. Don’t own a juicer? Try a jar of beet juice, which can be found at any natural food store.
Susan Jordan, author of this superb lemon and thyme drink on Taste of Home, decided to grill not just her lemons but the herb as well, to create a drink she calls "Thyme for Lemonade." A simple syrup made from sugar, honey and almond extract rounds out the drink’s flavor.
Chef Nik Sharma concocted this thirst-quenching Brown Table recipe as an homage to his childhood in Bombay. He toasts the herb’s seeds, then lightly crushes them with a mortar and pestle. Mint, ginger, and molasses provide the drink’s final flavor notes.
Green juice meets lemonade in this creation from the blog With Food + Love, which requires a juicer for its celery-apple-lemon-kale blend. Add a splash of vodka or gin to make this healthy drink more festive.
A teaspoon of the plant’s dried flowers, steeped with sugar and water to make a simple syrup, adds a light floral fragrance to this refreshing elixir from The Kitchn.
Light brews and lemonade make for a pleasing pairing, more commonly known as shandies. The Beeroness blogger Jackie Dodd recommends using blonde or pale ales for her strawberry-infused take on the classic drink.
The Girl in the Little Red Kitchen blog suggests adding a shot of the liquor for a refreshing libation that is more cocktail than summer refresher. Cherries, both muddled and used as a garnish, lend the drink a bit of extra flavor.
Sweet, tart, and spicy sums up this flavorful lemonade from Serious Eats, which blends the fruit with lemon juice and half a Thai chili. The lychees even double as garnish, as chopped bits of the fruit are added to the pitcher after the drink is done.
12. SWEETENED CONDENSED MILK
It’s the surprise ingredient in Brazilian Lemonade, a creamy take on the drink that actually uses limes instead of lemons. As this recipe from Delish notes, the milk’s sweet flavor balances out the tartness of the fruit, making for what they call "key lime pie in a glass."
All images via iStock.