When life gives you lemons, sometimes the only solution is to make lemonade. I wrote recently about my attempts to use up a big bag of lemons through various baking projects. I still had a bunch that weren’t getting any fresher. Making lemonade was the obvious solution.
I also had a lot of strawberries in the fridge, and I knew those two would pair well together. I also wanted to incorporate some mint. I wasn’t sure how well the mint would go with the berry and citrus flavors, but it was worth a try.
I made a simple syrup steeped with mint leaves. I blended the strawberries and passed them through a strainer. I mixed the strawberry puree, fresh-squeezed lemon juice and simple syrup together in a pitcher. To prepare each cocktail, I mixed the concentrated lemonade with club soda and vodka.
It was light, refreshing and fantastic. The mint was subtle, but it balanced out the sweetness of the lemonade. Let me demonstrate the lengths I will go for you, dear reader. I mixed another drink, this time with gin instead of vodka. I thought this tasted even better, with the herbaceous notes in the gin melding with the mint.
This drink can easily be made non-alcoholic. Simply use additional club soda instead of alcohol.
Preparing mint simple syrup sounds like a challenging task, but it’s not. The mint flavor is the key to this drink. The concentrate recipe makes enough for eight drinks.
Strawberry lemonade concentrate ingredients:
- 1 cup water
- 1 cup white sugar
- 1 1/2 cups lemon juice (from 5-6 lemons)
- 8 ounces (about 2 cups) fresh strawberries, hulled
- 1/4 cup mint leaves
Strawberry lemonade cocktail:
- 1/2 cup concentrate
- 1/3 cup club soda
- 1/4 cup vodka or gin
- Mint leaves, for garnish
To make individual cocktails: Combine 1/2 cup strawberry lemonade concentrate with 1/3 cup club soda and 1/4 cup gin or vodka in a rocks glass. Garnish with mint leaves.
To make a pitcher of cocktails: Combine concentrate with 2 2/3 cups club soda and 2 cups of gin or vodka. Serve promptly, because the carbonation will dissipate.
The strawberry lemonade concentrate will keep for a week, but the mint flavor fades within two days.