Introduction: Grandma's Lemonade

Picture of Grandma's Lemonade

This is my grandma's recipe for lemonade that I've been making for years. It's a little more work than mixing lemon juice and sugar, but it's totally worth it.


6 lemons
2 cups sugar
1 cup water
pinch salt

Step 1: Prepare Zest

Picture of Prepare Zest

Peel zest from 2 lemons and cut into thin strips. If necessary remove any bitter white pith with a sharp knife.

Step 2: Boil Syrup

Picture of Boil Syrup

Boil zest, 2 cups of sugar, a pinch of salt and 1 cup of water for 5 minutes. Remove from heat and add a few fresh mint leaves. Steep for 10 minutes. Strain and place in the fridge or freezer to cool completely.

Step 3: Juice Lemons

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Collect the juice from 6 lemons.

Step 4: Mix Lemonade

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Mix together fully cooled syrup and lemon juice to make lemonade syrup. Combine this syrup with water or club soda. I like a ratio of approximately 1 part syrup to 5 parts water, but taste it and see what you like.

Step 5: Variations

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What made my grandma's cooking so great was that she wasn't afraid to experiment. Although mint is delicious it can be fun to mix things up sometimes. Here are some variations:

Experiment with replacing some or all of the lemons with other citrus. 

Vanilla Lemonade:
If you've never tried this, it is really interesting and delicious. Either boil half a vanilla bean with the syrup or add a slash of vanilla extract to the cooled mix. 

Rosemary Lemonade:
Steep a few sprigs of rosemary in the hot syrup instead of mint.


haonkrub (author)2013-11-12

This stuff is amazing! After making it once, I always have to have some in my house! Thanks for posting this!

Londonbrig0 (author)2012-04-30

Pro tip: if you aren't afraid of really sugary things, the leftover zest is really good to eat after straining

Treknology (author)2011-08-19

I've read your list of ingredients and I don't see any Grandmas

Londonbrig0 (author)Treknology2012-04-30

thank you sir (or madam) for making my day better with a great laugh

baronaccio (author)2011-08-16

I've tried it last weekend for some friends! AWESOME! :) I've mixed the rosemary versione, because I've got A LOT of rosemary at my home. Now, I'm adicted to it eheheh Only a con for European people: we can't measure the right quantity of sugar, because we use grams. How much a a sugar pound is, please? Could you please post the ingredients in grams? Thank you very much for this AWESOME recipe (hail to the granny!).

NoFiller (author)baronaccio2011-08-17

Thanks for the good review, I'm glad your friends liked it.

I looked up online that 1 cup of sugar weighs 225g.

baronaccio (author)NoFiller2011-08-18

Thank you very much for your answer! ;) Ok, I've done some google research and I discovered that there's GREAT difference between a LIQUID and SOLID cup. Cup is a mesurement more lrelated to VOLUME than WEIGHT so...solid thing are a different, annoying!, matter! :D For European users like me, you should better buy that IKEA's cup graduates! So you can pour all your solid ingredients in it and measure them with no doubts. If you haven't those graduates (like me again!!!) HERE is a useful convertion table (but it's in Italian). So 1 cup of flour will weight A LOT MORE than a cup of marshmallow (130gr VS 45gr!!!) beacuse marshmallow has great volume but low weight.

I'm posting some common ingredients to sweet this recipe so you haven't to translate from Italian:
1 cup of SUGAR is 200gr
1 cup of BROW SUGAR is 210gr
1 cup of ICING/POWDERED SUGAR is 115gr
1 cup of HONEY is 340gr

That's all folks! ;)

Eirinn (author)baronaccio2011-09-07

A cup is a volumetric measuring tool - it has nothing to do with the weight as you correctly say.

A cup of lead is essentially the same as a cup of feathers. the problem here is just that how tightly are the feathers packed? This is why calculating in weight is often more accurate (unless it's flour since that can vary a lot).

What i did was to measure 225g of sugar and put it in a large cup - then i marked on the cup where the sugar line was and used that to measure the rest.

baronaccio (author)Eirinn2011-09-07

Yeah, you're right! ;) IKEA sells also measurings "spoons": they're little spoons as big as 1/4 of cup, 1/3 of cup, 1/2 of cup and a spoon! ;) So no more troubles with cups eheheh Thank you very much for your reply, Eirinn! ;)

Eirinn (author)baronaccio2011-09-08

You're welcome :) I'm glad i can help. I also ended up buying a measuring cup for future American recipies!

Jerry66 (author)baronaccio2011-08-18

Hi-1 pound =454 grams. 1 kilo=2.2 pounds (lbs.)

Londonbrig0 (author)2011-09-06

About how much juice should you be getting from 6 lemons? I like sour lemonade, so I'm always paranoid that I'm not getting enough juice by doing something wrong or buying lemons that are too small.

crazycloud (author)2011-08-19

We used to have a Lemon tree and made this recipe or one like it a lot. We would put it in ice cube trays and freeze. When you want lemonade just grab cubes to fit your personal taste and add water.

Eirinn (author)crazycloud2011-08-27

I had this idea too, but was afraid it wouldn't freeze very well. I'm happy to hear it does!

NoFiller (author)crazycloud2011-08-19

That is a fantastic idea

firefly68 (author)crazycloud2011-08-19

I miss my lemon and orange trees. And my Grandma.

flamesami (author)2011-08-18

why do you remove the white pith? it's not bitter like orange pith, it's actually quite few people know this :(

NoFiller (author)flamesami2011-08-19

It's not bitter? I must investigate. That would make things so much easier.

The real answer to "why do you make the zest like that?" is just "because it's traditional", which is rarely a good reason to do anything.

Eirinn (author)NoFiller2011-08-27

I tried tasting the white pith of the lemons i used. It wasn't really bitter and i didn't scrape off what was left on the peel. Tasted amazingly good.

Also i've been banned from making more, my girlfriend is worried about getting addicted to it and is afraid of getting fat ;)

zanne101 (author)2011-08-22

I just made the syrup and had a little taste - yummy. I'm waiting for it to cool completely in the fridge. I've got a big glass in the freezer just ready to be filled.
I ended up with 1 1/3 c. juice from the 6 lemons - they were really big.

Can you freeze the syrup in cubes? Or do you have to dilute it with water first?

BTW, I used a ceramic peeler that makes wide, very thin strips of the peel. It was perfect for this. Here's a picture of something similar, but again, a ceramic blade works best.

Sorry the pic is so big, don't know how to reduce in this format.

mat1978 (author)2011-08-08

Can I use a zest scraper instead of cutting in strips ?

NoFiller (author)mat19782011-08-08

Yes, that should be fine. The reason I don't is that my thing makes really fine zest which gunks up my strainer.

HISsparrow (author)NoFiller2011-08-18

Hi, Lovely recipe. I just wanted to share the zester I use. It's out of stock where I got mine but you may be able to find it somewhere else. Great little tool! Zester Thanks for sharing your Grandma's recipe with us. God bless

NoFiller (author)HISsparrow2011-08-19

That looks like a really good zester for this. The one I have is more like a fine cheese grater.

HISsparrow (author)NoFiller2011-08-20

It took me awhile to find this one but it's the one I prefer to use. It's pretty easy to use if you only remember not to grab too hard or the pith comes with it. Like everything there's a knack to it. ;o) The natural oils you get from the skin are so much better than anything artificially flavored. Never did think to boil them though to bring out the flavor for lemonade. Just used to chuck lemon slices in the pitcher. Excellent recipe!

MCUman (author)2011-08-19

Before you juice the lemons warm them in the microwave. It makes it easier and you get all of the juice because the pulp is softer.

erronius (author)2011-08-19

I've noticed many Middle Eastern restaurants put a little shot of rosewater in their lemonaide. --doesn't do much for the flavor, but gives it a lovely fragrance.

bwelkin (author)2011-08-18

Wow! I've got to try this.

On variants: we make lemonade by the recipe on the RealLemon bottle BUT we use orange juice for half the water called for. I bet that would work in this recipe also.


firefly68 (author)bwelkin2011-08-19

If you can't get good fresh lemons, try Lakewood lemon juice. It can be hard to find but is soooo much better than ReaLemon! I get it at my local coop, and Amazon carries it too.

Kasm279 (author)2011-08-18

Looks like its time to make some limeaide!

sunshiine (author)2011-08-10


iamhungry (author)sunshiine2011-08-11

Is it non-alcoholic? If it is that's great =)

cforeman (author)iamhungry2011-08-18

...Of course it's not alcoholic. The ingredients are water, lemon, sugar, salt, and mint...

iamhungry (author)sunshiine2011-08-11

And how much does the mix make? Because it says 2 cups of sugur, and 1 cup water and stuff. Do you make it in a pitcher?

NoFiller (author)iamhungry2011-08-14

The recipe makes a concentrated mix that you can add to water or perrier. Last time I made it for a party and premixed it with water and ice I got two pitchers of lemonade. So I guess it makes about 4L. It really depends how strong you like it though.

E_MAN (author)2011-08-15

sounds tasty! buy a lot of work for some lemonade...

msmith23 (author)E_MAN2011-08-18

NOTHING is too much work for GOOD lemonade!! : )

ib42 (author)2011-08-18

I wonder if Splenda would work instead of sugar. Has anyone tried it? That stuff is quite expensive so I don't want to experiment unless I have to. Some input, please!

soul_eater (author)2011-08-08

I'm going to ry this it looks delicious

mikeasaurus (author)2011-08-07

yummy and timely for the heat this summer!

ChrysN (author)2011-08-07

Wow, that looks good!

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