The Best Lemonade You've Ever Had

July  3, 2013

A deeply ingrained love of lemonade starts in childhood. Something about scrawling “Lemonade” on a poster board, throwing together a makeshift stand, and pestering each passing car to buy a cup of hand-squeezed lemonade carves out a special place in our hearts for this beverage. There’s nothing like sipping lip-pursing, icy-cool lemonade -- preferably through a striped straw -- to bring back memories of carefree afternoons and summer sunshine. 

More: Your other childhood favorites, all grown up. 

Shop the Story

In this video, our editor Kenzi shares a trick for the ultimate glass of tart, sweet lemonade. The secret comes before the lemons are even juiced. By rubbing whole lemons in raw cane sugar, you'll release the fragrant juices of their skins and perfume the sugar with a lemon scent. Then, use that same sugar as a sweetener to infuse the whole drink with an intense lemon flavor. 

Video shot and produced by Todd Coleman.

What's your favorite way to make lemonade? Let us know in the comments!

See what other Food52 readers are saying.

  • robyn ann
    robyn ann
  • Cooks on the road
    Cooks on the road
  • Laura Gabriela
    Laura Gabriela
  • JulieBee
  • Dana Staves
    Dana Staves
I used to work at Food52. I'm probably the person who picked all of the cookie dough out of the cookie dough ice cream.


robyn A. January 8, 2014
nothing scientific, other than what i have read about microwaves kill off nutrients and we are working with a RAW product that is full of delicate enzymes that are destroyed by heat. So whenever something is raw I like to get all the benefits of the raw food. Because I eat totally organic I never use a microwave to reheat anything, I guess I am a food purist and I prefer fire to heat food with fire not microwaves!
robyn A. January 7, 2014
I recommend never using a microwave for anything ever.
Cooks O. January 8, 2014
Any particular reason for this?
Cooks O. January 7, 2014
To get more juice out of the lemon, put your lemon some time in the microwave!!
Laura G. January 2, 2014
me,i make a much better lemonade...i cook the lemon peel in water with sugar and aroma is just -wow.....and i put honey and sugar...and in the end i put a little peppermint....
JulieBee September 30, 2013
I've made this a few times as a lemon syrup, instead of a lemonade, by going light on the water,and I use it to sweeten ice tea. It's delish!
Dana S. September 30, 2013
Easily the best lemonade I've ever had, using this recipe. So glad I found it here.
sswan September 21, 2013
So did anyone ever get the recipe? In general, how much of what kind of sugar, these lemons looked like Eureka. How much water? How many lemons?
jeanette G. August 27, 2013
Nice video but it would have been nice it you would also print a recipe
heyadelaide August 9, 2013
the ratio that I always use for lemonade is 1:1:5. 1 part L lemon juice, 1 part sugar, 5 parts water. this has always made the most delicious lemonade, it is on the tart side so you can add more sugar to taste b ut it's a good starting point
ashk August 9, 2013
I did this and it made a mess, but I didn't notice that the lemonade was any better.
DPagano July 30, 2013
what are the measurements?
SkiGrrl July 30, 2013
It all depends on how much lemonade you want to make! (Also - on what size lemons you've got!) The last time I did this I used about 8 large lemons and 1 cup of light cane sugar. I tend to make a very strong batch and then lighten it to taste.
DPagano July 30, 2013
thank you
SkiGrrl July 30, 2013
For those doing the lemon-rolling routine: use a microwave-safe oblong dish, put a layer of rough sugar on the bottom. Put lemons on top of sugar, zap for 10 seconds. Remove from microwave, take lemons out of dish, add more sugar, then roll each lemon in the sugar one at a time. You get the easily released oils/juices from zapping, but haven't lost any to the microwave. Then you get all the benefits of sugaring the rinds and rolling the lemons. Then slice thinly and muddle or just juice them.
Celia B. July 30, 2013
I was in the Middle East recently (Egypt and Jordan). I fell in love with a drink that was called lemon mint. Add a big handful of finely chopped mint leaves to your lemonade -- very refreshing. Since I've been back I've made several pitchers and in one I used half and half lime and lemon juice.
SaucyCuisine July 19, 2013
I've made a couple of batches this week. The first was so good that everyone wanted more. I thinly peeled the limes and mixed them with the sugar to extract the lime oil. So refreshing.
Joy H. July 19, 2013
I've been making this all week with vanilla sugar and just tried it with mint, too! http://the-cooking-of-joy.blogspot.com/2013/07/vanilla-sugar-lemonade-and-mint.html
robyn A. July 13, 2013
I think adding mint is a great idea!
DonnaHallelujah July 13, 2013
Sounds like Summer!! :)
Cheri July 13, 2013
I add crushed mint leaves to my lemonade. I've used various mixes of spearmint, pineapple mint, citrus mint, and pineapple sage. Makes a "fruity" tasting drink.
laurelei235 July 10, 2013
In one of Marcia Adam's books, she has an Amish recipe for lemonade. Zest the lemons with a vegetable peeler (no pith, please), and muddle (pound) with the sugar. Then add the juice and water. Pretty yummy.
robyn A. July 10, 2013
what you are missing is the point of the video it was about am idea~an interesting new step to make lemonade the measurements are not the point different sugars are sweeter than others,some lemons have more juice than others.
Missy K. July 10, 2013
Lovely video ... I just wrote a story about Lemonade. Now I need to make some. Great idea to infuse the sugar with the lemon scent. Thanks!