Vanilla-Thyme Lemonade

April  5, 2015
4 Ratings
Photo by James Ransom
  • Serves 4
Author Notes

For a less intense thyme flavour, omit thyme from the sugar syrup and add it to the lemon juice instead. Make sure you crunch the leaves in your hand to release their flavor.
Add gin for an alcoholic twist.

Tip: Freeze some of the mixture in ice trays the first time you make it so that the next time you have it, you can use these ice cubs in the cocktail so that they won't dilute the flavor as they melt. —madlovefood

Test Kitchen Notes

Honestly, this one surprised me. I just didn't think there was much to it, but there's something about the combination of vanilla and thyme that brings out the best in both. It's a sweet syrup, to be sure, but not without tartness, and the vanilla somehow "organizes" the overall flavor. There's only a touch of thyme to it, and I personally would keep the thyme in the cooling syrup rather than straining it out right away, but overall this is a very pleasing base for lemonade. —mitschlag

What You'll Need
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 1 small bunch thyme, plus some for garnish
  • 1 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 1 cup sparkling or still water, divided
  1. Combine the sugar, water, vanilla, honey, and thyme into a pot and stir over a medium heat until the sugar dissolves. Strain to remove thyme and allow to cool.
  2. Stir in lemon juice. Pour the syrup and lemon mixture into a glass with ice and top with 1/4 cup soda water. Garnish with a sprig of thyme. Repeat for each glass.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • Idalu
  • Alyssa Wiegand
    Alyssa Wiegand
  • Lise
  • Cinnamin

8 Reviews

Susan K. June 29, 2017
So I need to make sugar free. Has anyone used Stevia?
Idalu January 10, 2016
Tasty. Lowered the amount of vanilla and thyme the 2nd time around and have been drinking as often as i want some refreshing and non-alcoholic.
Alyssa W. May 20, 2015
I made this with a thyme simple syrup that I had prepared for a cocktail and it was fantastic! Used sparkling water, and it was so refreshing and delicious.
Lise May 19, 2015
Made this using lemon thyme (which is what I grow in my garden) and gin for an adult version, it was wonderful!
Cinnamin April 29, 2015
Hey would this work with dried thyme? I only have dried :(
Stephanie April 29, 2015
The general rule is to use 1/3 of the amount if you're subbing dried for fresh. Having made it, I don't see why dried wouldn't work (although straining the thyme out might get tricky.)
Cinnamin April 29, 2015
Ok great!! Will keep this in mind.
Stephanie April 23, 2015
Sweet and tangy. Smooth vanilla and woody thyme. Bubbles. This simple recipe is everything you never knew you wanted in a drink. The thyme (which complements the vanilla perfectly) is subtle, so I prefer to leave the sprigs to infuse while the syrup cools, a bit longer than suggested. I can confirm first-hand that gin is the perfect boozy foil for the flavorful simple syrup but also envision this as the base for many delightful cocktails. I'll be making this "patio pounder" all summer long!