Even though the official start of summer (June 20) is a few weeks away, we've had hot enough weather in New Jersey to feel that deep-down longing for a real refreshing beverage that quenches our thirst.
Here's one that will do the trick: home-made lemonade. It's bright, tart, a little sweet and all natural.
I've had store-bought frozen concentrate brands and they're not bad and usually not filled with tons of unpronounceable ingredients.
But home-made is still better. Plus you can add a few different ingredients to jazz it up and change the flavors.
1 cup sugar
1 cup water
1 cup fresh lemon juice (about 4-5 lemons)
4 cups cold water
In a small saucepan, mix sugar and one cup of water. Bring to a boil and stir until all the sugar dissolves and the water returns to clear instead of cloudy. Let cool or better yet, cool and refrigerate overnight.
In a large pitcher, combine sugar-water mixture, lemon juice and 4 cups cold water. Stir and serve in tall glasses with lots of ice.
Optional add ins:
Top your lemonade with a splash of chilled plain seltzer (for fizz), cranberry juice (makes it look like pink lemonade), or home-made ice tea (1 tea bag in 2 cups of boiling water, steeped then chilled).
Serves about 6.