Holy Shlemonade

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Lemonade has been a part of my life since I was a little girl. My grandmother kept an orange Gatorade cooler full of triple-strength Country Time on the porch at the lake, and while we were down there during the summers it’s hard to remember a time when I didn’t have a glass within reach.

Obviously, my family likes our lemonade with pucker, but we weren’t quite prepared for Your Dekalb Farmer’s Market’s version. It packs a punch.

Let me set the scene for you.

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It’s a weekday afternoon, right around 4:00. We’ve stopped on the way home from school to pick up a few essentials – bread, milk, eggs – plus a snack for my brother and me. We’d grabbed soft pretzels or croissants or something – I can’t remember what now – plus a quart of the lemonade to share.

Once we got back to the car, we tore into the pastries, and, well, what happened next has passed into family legend.

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Jay took a sip from the bottle and made a face that Mom couldn’t see.

“You have to try this,” he said. “It’s amazing!” And so the bottle was passed to Mom. We watched, rapt, as she put the miniature milk jug to her lips and drank.

“HOLY S**T!”

It’s one of only a handful of times I have ever heard my mother swear. And so Holy Shlemonade passed into legend.

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You see, Holy Shlemonade isn’t really lemonade in the traditional sense. It’s more like lightly sweetened lemon juice with just enough lime to get into the back of your mouth and tingle.

The ingredient list on the bottle reads, in this order, “lemon juice, lime juice, water, sugar.” And that order, my friends, is important. Because ingredient labels are written in decreasing order of concentration.

Yeah, it’s intense.

So when Ruthie* came over to upgrade her RAM, I figured it was the perfect time to finally make it for myself.

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We spent the afternoon playing alchemist, trying different ratios of lemon and lime until we finally got it right. Let me tell you, what we ended up with is worth squeezing two pounds of citrus for.

It is intensely citrus-y, an insanely refreshing summertime punch of lemon and lime with just enough sweetness to balance the bright sourness of the pure fruit. This lemonade is tart enough to make the back of your mouth tingle, but sweet enough to keep you coming back for more.

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How do I know we got it right? When I gave it to Mom to try this afternoon, she almost swore.

I’ll chalk the discrepancy up to preparation.

Holy Shlemonade
Makes a bit more than a quart

If you don’t like your lemonade tart enough to pucker, just add more water or simple syrup until it tastes right to you. This is fantastic mixed half-and-half with sparkling water, and if you happen to have any left (I’ve never managed it), I bet it would make amazing popsicles.

Also, this recipe should work like a ratio, so if you don’t have exactly enough of anything, or want to scale up or down, it should be fine. Just use two parts lemon, 2/3 part lime, etc.

2 c freshly squeezed lemon juice (from about 7 lemons)
2/3 c freshly squeezed lime juice (from about 8 limes)
1 c simple syrup
1 1/3 c water

In a large pitcher or mason jar, mix together the lemon juice, lime juice, simple syrup and water. Chill and serve over ice.

If you want to get fancy, toss a few of the spent lime or lemon halves into the simple syrup while it comes to a boil. It’ll infuse the syrup with lemon or lime flavor and add a little extra zing. Plus, you can use leftover lemon or lime syrup (if you have any) in anything – cocktails, sweet tea, as a dressing for fruit salad, in sorbets, heck, you could probably put it in your coffee if you wanted to.

*Who, by the way, was the mastermind behind much of the photo styling in this post. I bow to her genius.

 

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