Leave it to a former fancy bartender to complicate what should be an otherwise straightforward drink. This lemonade features strawberries two ways: first, as the base for the syrup that sweetens the drink, and second, frozen as the ice that chills the drink and gives it a playful two-toned hue.
Strawberries are delicious but can be difficult to work with. Perfectly ripe berries are hard to come by, and oftentimes what you find in the grocery store can be nearly flavorless. Having a recipe like this one handy is a great way to capture perfectly ripe strawberries when you are lucky enough to find an in-season batch. The syrup can be frozen for long-term storage, and, of course, so can the ice.
Most recipes out there for making sugar syrups usually call for some kind of heat to dissolve the sugar into the liquid base. I don’t see anything wrong with that method in general, but when using fresh ingredients like fruit, the heat can sometimes lead to a slightly cooked flavor in the finished syrup. So for this recipe, instead of a stove, I use a blender: first as a way to extract the juice from the strawberries, then to dissolve the sugar and create the syrup.
Naturally, this drink is perfect as-is, but if you’d like to go ahead and throw a little bit of your favorite spirit in the mix as well, it’s fantastic with vodka, gin, or even whiskey. —John deBary
What You'll Need
2 1/2 ounces
freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 1/2 ounces
strawberry syrup (see below)
fine sea salt
For strawberry syrup and strawberry ice: Combine 4 cups chopped ripe strawberries with 2 cups water in a blender. Blend on high for 60 seconds. Strain through a fine mesh strainer to capture seeds. Combine 2 cups blended strawberry mixture with 2 cups granulated sugar and blend on high for 90 seconds. Let cool for 10 minutes before using.
For strawberry ice, pour remaining strawberry mixture into silicone ice molds. Freeze overnight.
To make the lemonade: Fill a glass with strawberry ice (see below), add remaining ingredients to glass, and stir to combine. (Here’s where you could add 1 1/2 ounces of your favorite spirit, if desired.) Garnish with mint and serve with a straw.