Cool, Creative Lemonades

Cool, Creative Lemonades

Quench your thirst and mix-up fresh ingredients for some cool and creative lemonades. Mix up a glass for yourself, or better yet, throw a summer lemonade party!

Studio 5 Contributor Sue Neal shares her recipes for gourmet lemonades!

Nothing says summer more to me that a ice-cold lemonade. It’s the perfect, refreshing combination of sweet and sour.

Even better is taking advantage of seasonal fruits and yes, even vegetables and fresh herbs to create something truly memorable and delicious.

There are dozens of gourmet lemonade recipes online, but I wanted to make it really easy for you to create gourmet lemonades with one basic recipe, so to begin with let’s make a lemon simple syrup. This is a concentrated form of lemonade that can be stored in the fridge for about 2 weeks or you can freeze it for up for 6 months.

The beauty of lemonade is the contrast between sweet & sour, but we all have different tastes. I personally like a more tart lemonade, my daughter a more sweet. Simply adjust to your personal taste by adding more Lemon or more water to dilute the tartness. It’s nice to have a little agave syrup on hand, as it will mix in without any sugary grit and will add some extra sweetness if you need it.

Lemon Simple Syrup lives up to its name. 2 ingredients; equal parts of fresh lemon juice and sugar. Heat in a pan until sugar has dissolved. Do not boil. Let cool to room temperature and store in glass jar. My ratio to make lemonade is 1:2 Syrup to water.

I buy the big bags of lemons at Costco and this gives me about 3 cups of Lemon juice. You will get approximately 1/8 to 1/4 cup per lemon depending on the size and how juicy they are.

I also make a Lime Simple Syrup and have used it for a few of the recipes below. It will look very similar to the Lemon Simple Syrup so make sure to label your bottles. Lime is more tart than lemon, so my ratio tends to be 1:3 Syrup to water.

I re-cycled a beautiful bottle I found for a french lemonade (doesn’t even compare) After drinking it, I rinsed it out and use it for keeping water cold in the fridge and also my Lemon and Lime Simple Syrup.

Just a quick note about ‘muddling’. To muddle is to mash or crush fresh herbs. I use my mortal & pestle to do this, but if you don’t have one, you could muddle in the bottom of a glass with the back of a thick wooden spoon (at least a 1″ diameter). Alternately, you could chop of the herbs finely and use the side of your knife to mash them a little. This will release the herbs natural oils where all their flavor is stored. I personally like little, tiny bits of herbs floating in my lemonades, but if you don’t, you could put the mixture through a strainer and just use the juice. If you do use the herbs, make sure they are very small because getting a big piece of herb while drinking is not pleasant.

Now let’s get creative! I’ll start with what is probably the most popular upgrade: Raspberry lemonade.

**Please note that all my recipes are in parts. This will enable you to make just one cup or a whole pitcher. When I make an individual serving I usually use a 1/4 cup measuring cup. I use a 1 cup measuring cup to make up a pitcher.

Raspberry Mint Lemonade

{Can you beat that color? Or the taste?}

1part Lemon Simple Syrup

1 part mashed Fresh Raspberries

2 parts cold water

2 leaves Mint, muddled in a bit of syrup per cup.

A few lemon slices


Garnish with mint leaves

Fizzy Kiwi Lemonade

{really love this combo…and so pretty!}

1part Lemon Simple Syrup

1 part mashed Fresh Kiwi (I like little bits of fruit pulp)

2 parts cold Pellegrino or soda water (or if like me, you prefer no fizz, just add water)


Garnish with slices of Kiwi, push into glass along the side so you can see that beautiful cross section.

Cucumber Dill Lemonade

{if you like cucumbers, you’ll love this version, so cool & fresh!}

1part Lemon Simple Syrup

1 part pureed Cucumbers (I used a blender)

2 parts cold water

2 tsp. fresh dill, muddled in a little syrup per cup.


Garnish with slices of cold cucumber and a sprig of dill.

Watermelon Basil Lemonade

{Love serving this in a mason jar, very country rustic}

1part Lemon Simple Syrup

1 part pureed ripe Watermelon

2 parts cold water

2 tsp. fresh basil, muddled in a little syrup per cup.


Garnish with a chunk of watermelon on the rim and slices of lemon in the jar.

Mellow Mango Lemonade

{Gorgeous color and mango ice cubes to munch on}

1part Lemon Simple Syrup

1 part pureed Mango

2 parts cold water


Frozen mango ice cubes (small, or cut up bigger ones)

Garnish with a slice of Lemon and mint leaf.

Jalapeno Cilantro Limeade

{Surprisingly this is NOT hot, just beautifully peppery}

1part Lime Simple Syrup

3 parts cold water

1/2 jalapeno, no seeds per glass

· Place jalapeno in first two ingredients and let marinate for 20 minutes or more.

1 Tbsp. chopped cilantro, muddles in a bit of syrup per cup.

Shaved or crushed ice

Garnish with a slice of Jalapeno and a Cilantro leaf.

Options: Using a margarita glass if fun for this drink and salting the rim is a perfect accompaniment. SInce your guests might be a bit nervous about this version, you could create a tray of shooters so they can all get a little taste.

This idea sprang from thinking about different herbs to use. I love cilantro and rest just fell into place. I didn’t expect it to taste as good as it did. Surprisingly, the jalapeno didn’t make it hot, just a mellow peppery sweet flavor. I might leave the seeds in next time for a little more heat.

Honeydew Nutmeg Lemonade

{Place slices of Honeydew in the glass for a convenient cool snack}

1part Lemon Simple Syrup

2 parts pureed Honeydew

2 parts cold water

a few grinds of fresh Nutmeg


Garnish with a couple of slices of fresh Honeydew, a mint leaf and some freshly ground nutmeg.

Strawberry Rhubarb Lemonade

{for those who really like to pucker up!}

1part Lemon Simple Syrup

1 part pureed Strawberries

1/2 part Rhubarb Juice (definitely just the juice here, the rhubarb has too much fiber.)


Garnish with a fresh strawberry and a stick of rhubarb. Dip one end in sugar…brings back nostalgic summer memories for me!

Fizzy Ginger Limeade

{Try frosting a mug in the freezer for this classic…directions below}

1part Lime Simple Syrup

1 part cold water

2 parts cold Gingerale

1 tsp minced ginger. Muddle with a bit of hot water and let sit for a few minutes to extract all the flavor.


Garnish with a slice of lime and a few shavings of lime rind.

How to frost a mug: Make sure mug is clean and cool. Place in the freezer so air has room to move around it. Spray with water and keep in freezer until ready to use. It takes about 60 minutes to build up a layer of frost depending on how cold your freezer is.

Check out more creative ideas on Sue Neal’s blog,

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