The allure of lemonade is in its balance between sweet and tart, but since I can't leave well enough alone, I'm always tweaking it by introducing a third flavor. Lately I've been loving the addition of heat, especially in the form of a spicy ginger syrup.
The kick from a homemade fresh ginger syrup amps up the addictive quality of this warm weather beverage. It's that sweet-sour combination that comes through first, while the heat settles in at the end of the gulp.
You know that sensation while eating spicy food where, after one bite, you immediately want to take another? Well, replace "bite" with "sip" and that describes the experience of drinking this lemonade.
Sweet, sour, heat, repeat.
Spicy Ginger Lemonade
Makes 11 (1-cup) servings
freshly-squeezed lemon juice (from about 15 lemons)
Peel the ginger and chop into roughly 1/4-inch pieces. Combine the ginger, sugar, and 4 cups of the water in a medium pot over high heat. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat to medium, and simmer for 45 minutes. Strain the syrup through a fine mesh sieve, pressing on the ginger with the back of a spoon. You should have about 3 cups of syrup. Cool to room temperature.
Combine the lemon juice and remaining 6 cups water in a large pitcher or pot. Stir in all of the ginger syrup. Chill before serving or serve over ice.
Feel free to adjust the amount of simple syrup based on your personal taste.
The ginger pieces left from making the syrup make for a delightfully spicy, slightly sweet snack. Store them in the fridge to eat throughout the week or add them to your favorite muffin recipe.