Recipe Review

I Tried the Recipe for “the Best Lemonade,” and This Is How It Compared to My Own Lemonade Company

published May 13, 2023
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Best lemonade in pitcher at park.
Credit: Choya Johnson

I’m a true critic when it comes to lemonade. As the co-owner of a small beverage business that specializes in the production of seasonal brown sugar lemonade, some may even say I’m a stickler for making the perfect lemonade. So, imagine my surprise when I found Carolina Gelen’s (@Carolinagelen) recipe for what she noted to be “the best lemonade” on Instagram. Naturally, I couldn’t resist the urge to test it out to see if this viral recipe was really worth the hype, and if it very well could be the best of the best. Here’s how it went.

Get the recipe: “The Best Lemonade”

Credit: Choya Johnson

How to Make “the Best Lemonade”

The recipe calls for the traditional ingredients of lemonade: lemons, water, and sugar. But, where it changes things up and gets its “best” title from is the addition of lemon zest (and kosher salt). 

Start by zesting three lemons in a small bowl. Carolina notes that you want to avoid the pith (the white part of the lemon) when doing this. The result will produce about 3 tablespoons of zest. From there, add in both a half cup of sugar and half teaspoon of salt. Mix the sugar, salt, and zest, ensuring that it’s blended well in the bowl. 

Roll your 8 to 10 large lemons until they become soft. Slice each in half and extract the juice from each lemon. You should be left with about 12 ounces of lemon juice. Add the juice into the mixing bowl along with the other ingredients. Store in the fridge until ready to use.

To make the actual lemonade, Carolina recommends using one part of the lemonade base to 4 to 6 parts water (I opted to go with her preference of using 5 parts water).  Add ice and optional lemon slices for garnish and enjoy!

Credit: Choya Johnson

My Honest Review of “The Best Lemonade”

A unique twist on a year-round favorite, this recipe had me intrigued from the very moment I saw it on my timeline. From the addition of the lemon zest and salt to the light amount of sugar used, this is one version of lemonade that is a bit different from those that I’m used to. I love the smell of fresh lemon and I will say that adding the zest into the lemonade took that up a notch. It also tapped into my nostalgia by reminding me of the traditional and authentic lemonade that I would sit out on the porch and have while spending summers at my grandparents’ house.

Unfortunately, though, the lemonade doesn’t quite fall into my category of “best.” The taste gave neither the amount of tartness or sweetness that lemonade is supposed to deliver or the delicious balance that my palate expects. I also feel as if I tasted the salt more than I should have. Had I added a bit of tequila, that would have been the perfect combination, but as a non-alcoholic lemonade, I don’t think salt should have been what I tasted most. 

Maybe next time, instead of using her preferred ratio amount, I’ll cut down on the water a bit and amp up the lemon mixture. Hopefully, it’ll produce the results I desire. As is though, I’d give this recipe a 6.5 out of 10 because it’s easy to build upon and customize to your preferred level of sweetness.

Credit: Choya Johnson

3 Tips for Making “the Best Lemonade”

  1. Use more lemon juice if needed. Although I used the entire cup-and-a-half for my lemon juice mixture base, if you desire a more tart taste, add in more lemon juice to fit your needs.
  2. Cut down on the salt. Unless you prefer a salty-like lemonade, opt to use just a pinch of salt instead of what the recipe calls for. I honestly felt like the recommended salt amount was a bit much for my palate. 
  3. Don’t be afraid to customize it. Just like any other lemonade recipe, this one is open for you to fit to your liking! Throw in some basil to change the taste, add in some muddled strawberries and mint, or pour in a bit of vodka to make it the perfect summer sip. The choice is yours!

Get the recipe: “The Best Lemonade”