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.
2 cups sugar
1 cup water
Step 1: 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
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
Collect the juice from 6 lemons.
Step 4: Mix Lemonade
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
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.
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.
Steep a few sprigs of rosemary in the hot syrup instead of mint.