A tall, cool glass of lemonade always hits the spot on a hot day. All you need are some lemons, some water, and something sweet. But sometimes it’s fun to experiment and change things up a little, so I found these great (and easy!) lemonade hacks to take your lemonade to the next level.
Whether you’re entertaining or just making everyday meals for the family a little more fun, give one of these 12 lemonade hacks a shot and let us know what you think!
Top image: Basil lemonade | Stacey Little for Southern Bite
With so many fresh herbs available this time of year, adding them to lemonade makes good sense. Stacey at Southern Bites offers a recipe for basil lemonade that’s as simple as it gets. You could substitute rosemary, mint, cilantro, or any other herb that sounds appealing to you. Or mix a few herbs together in lemonade, like Krista at The Happy Housie in her own post about the perfect summer refresher.
Frozen Lemonade is one of the joys of street fairs and county fairs everywhere. But hey, you can make your own at home so easily! Try this easy Finding Zest recipe for frozen lemonade. First, be sure to check our post about the best citrus juicers. You’ll need one, of course.
Related: How to squeeze the most juice from a lemon or lime: Testing kitchen tricks
Pink Lemonade recipe by Elise Bauer for Simply Recipes
Make it pink
Pink lemonade is such a kid favorite because, come on! It’s pink! Elise Bauer from Simply Recipes has a great hack for pink lemonade thanks to cranberry juice. Bonus: The cranberry juice not only adds an extra zip of flavor, but it’s a natural diuretic, which reduces swelling and helps those of us whose ankles blow up in the heat.
Blend with watermelon
Watermelon is another favorite summer food and it happens to be the most perfect combo to amp up lemonade. The Whole Foods site has a simple recipe for watermelon lemonade that’s a wonderfully easy summer treat. To get fancy, save a few small wedges for garnishes on the glass. Just know that like cranberry, watermelon is a diuretic, which is why I warn parents to never, serve it to a recently potty-trained kid right before bed. (Take it from a mom who knows.)
Get out the blender
Did y’all hear about that whole lemon-blender trick for easy lemonade that was all over the internet? Me too. Did you really want it to work? Me too. Sarah Rae Smith did the work for us, trying out the viral blender lemonade recipe for The Kitchn…with somewhat disappointing results. So she found a fix, adding only one extra ingredient. If you really want to use a whole lemon, her lemonade hack is definitely the way to go. Thanks for the warning, Sarah!
Whole lemonade by AA Newton for Lifehacker
Make use of those mason jars
If you want to use a whole lemon but you’d rather skip the blender or don’t have one around (say you’re in a vacation rental without a well-stocked kitchen), AA Newton on Lifehacker recommends a hack to make lemonade using a mason jar and a muddler. Also love the idea of adding a bit of gin and a splash of Campari, which strikes me as an excellent happy hour plan.
Arnold Palmer it
This classic combo of half iced tea and half lemonade named for the golf legend is the easiest thing in the world. It’s a little like a lemony iced tea without the need for adding extra sugar — or if you go a little heavier on the lemonade, it gives you a kick of caffeine while taking down the sweetness a bunch.
Turn it into an adult beverage
Speaking of Anold Palmers, I love this idea for Arnold Palmer Cocktails by If You Can Make That You Can Make This. It gets its kick from gin, or you can try vodka if you prefer — you can even grab the limited edition Arnold Palmer Ketel One Vodka to get really authentic.
If you own a Zoku instant ice pop maker, or even just the old fashion sleeves and sticks, any lemonade at all is perfectly suited to popsicle form.
Related: The Lemonade Stand Cookbook, the new cookbook every family needs this summer.
If you don’t like when your lemonade gets watered down from melty ice cubes, plan ahead with lemonade ice cubes. Over on What’s Gaby Cooking, they’re even adding fruit and herbs to lemonade and iced tea flavored ice cubes for added flavor. Plus, they’re so pretty if you’re entertaining! I wouldn’t even reserve these just for lemonade — they’re great in ice tea, or even plain water or club soda for a hint of flavor.
Swap lemons for limes
My favorite citrus summer drink is actually a limeade. There’s a brilliant recipe for classic limeade on Serious Eats is so smart, because it offers up a way to help the sugar dissolve without having to turn on the stove to make simple syrup.
Another limeade variation is one I discovered years ago when I was trying out one of Goop’s week-long detox diets. (Don’t judge!) It’s a crazy delicious cucumber, basil, and lime juice which they call a “detox friendly mojito.” Add it to your favorite sparkling water and it makes a refreshing soda. Or if you need, add sweetener like simple syrup or agave syrup.