3 Fresh Ways to Spice Up Your Lemonade

By M. Elizabeth Sheldon Posted July 20, 2015

There's nothing wrong with a crisp glass of classic lemonade, but it's also a drink that's ripe for experimentation. At New York City cocktail spot The Daily, bartender Nacho Jimenez recently launched a sort of choose-your-own-adventure lemonade menu. Each week he mixes up a few unique twists on the summery beverage, and then lets guests add their spirit of choice (gin and bourbon are especially popular). Below, he's shared three of his favorite versions, including a spicy chili variation. In keeping with Jiminez's philosophy, all of these recipes are alcohol-free—drink them as is, or add a splash of your favorite booze.

Watermelon and Shiso Lemonade
Makes 1 drink

Shiso Syrup:
2 cups of sugar
20 shiso leaves

Dissolve the sugar into 2 cups of hot water. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Meanwhile, put some ice cubes in a medium bowl and fill with water for an ice bath. Grasping the stem ends of the shiso leaves, immerse the leafy ends completely in the boiling water for 15 seconds. Remove from the water and immediately submerge in the ice bath for 1 minute. Remove from the ice bath, pat dry with paper towels. Blend the blanched leaves and simple syrup on high speed in a blender for 1 minute. Strain through a fine-mesh strainer or cheesecloth and refrigerate. 

For Lemonade:
1.5 oz. watermelon juice
¾ oz. lemon juice
¾ oz. shiso syrup
1 shiso leaf

Shake and strain all ingredients onto fresh ice into a highball glass. Top with soda. Optional: garnish with a watermelon triangle and a sprinkle of togarashi.

Spicy Cantaloupe and Cilantro Lemonade
Makes 1 drink

Chili Tincture:
500 ml high proof, clear spirit like 100-proof vodka
20 g dried Ancho chile

Mix dried red chili with alcohol in an air-tight glass container. Let sit until it reaches your desired level of spiciness—usually a few days to a few weeks. Strain once it reaches appropriate heat level. Any leftover tincture will keep pretty indefinitely. 

For Lemonade:
1.5 oz. cantaloupe juice
¾ oz. lemon juice
½ oz. cilantro syrup
3 dashes of chili tincture

Shake and strain onto fresh ice in a highball glass. Top with soda. Optional: garnish with cilantro leaves. 

Blackberry and Lavender Lemonade

Makes 1 drink

¾ oz. blackberry puree
¾ oz. lemon juice
½ oz. lavender syrup
½ oz. Crème Yvette

Shake and strain all ingredients into a highball glass over fresh ice. Optional: garnish with a lemon wheel and a fresh blackberry.

20 Modern Summer Cocktails
Summer Drinks
Iced Tea

The Dish
Receive delicious recipes and smart wine advice 4x per week in this e-newsletter.
The Wine List Weekly pairing plus best bottles to buy.
F&W Daily One sensational dish served fresh every day.

You May Also Like

powered by ZergNet