Monday, August 27, 2007

Amish Lemonade

The original recipe as it was given to me:

-juice of six lemons
-1 cup white sugar
-16 cups cold water
-4 cups ice cubes
-1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
-pinch of mint

Mix together and enjoy.

A few thoughts:
If you use room-temperature lemons you get more juice. And the six lemons should yield about one cup of juice, if you're going to be a sinner and use juice out of a bottle. I won't tell. But it's better fresh. I strain the pulp/gunk out of my juice before use, but it's better for you if you leave the pulp in. (Didja know lemons have more vitamin C than oranges?)

If you boil the one cup of sugar in one of the sixteen cups of water, THEN mix it all together, the sugar obviously dissolves a lot faster.

If you sift the nutmeg through a very fine mesh (I use my grandmother's tea strainer), you don't wind up with large fragments of spice in the drink, leaving relatives like mine to turn up their noses and say "What in hell's in this stuff?" Of course, if you do leave big fragments in, no one else will touch it and you can drink it all yourself. Up to you.

If you can get it, use a couple fresh mint leaves and bruise them before you put them in; just roll them around between the palms of your hands until they look a little beat up. You get more flavor that way.

You can mix vodka with this and produce quite a satisfactory summer drink. Gin works too, but not so well. And Grand Marinier is a lovely addition, too. The authenticity of the recipe fades, the more booze you add. FYI.

You can also do this with grapefruit juice or a combo of lemon and grapefruit. Or, if you live in California, use Myer lemons. (I can't find them here.) They're a cross-breed between lemons and tangerines. Deeelish. Or limes, or key limes, or bush limes, or, you know, anything citrus that'll hold still.

The nutmeg is the secret ingredient. I had to badger an Amish/Mennonite lady I worked with for months, to get this recipe. So don't tell her you have it. Shhh.


amy said...

Your last lines made me laugh out loud. So thanks for that! And for the recipe, too. I will file it away for some day when I have more--something--and I will make lemonade from scratch.

Amy Lane said...

Sounds awesome--I'll make it for my relatives one day and smile mysteriously.

Alwen said...

My husband loves to make fresh lemonade (one reason he's a keeper, even if he is a machinery jinx). I'll forward this to him.

Guess we shouldn't, um, what, email that Amish/Mennonite woman?

RobynR said...

Hooray! Thank you. I'm going to go outside now and stare at our fruit salad tree to encourage the (myer) lemons to ripen.
As I stare I shall also think speculatively about putting vanilla schnapps in the almost amish lemonade.

Louiz said...

Limes = why Americans call English Limeys - they grew them in pots on ships to prevent scurvy because they had so much vit.c

Alwen said...

On a completely different tangent, if you have to mix cocoa or spices with water, if you sift them up thoroughly with the sugar first, they disperse better into the water.

(The spices still aren't water soluble, and if they get the opportunity, they will eventually sink to the bottom, but at least they start out dispersed and have to take the time to sink.)

Should I tell the cocoa beer story? The local homebrewing club has provided me with many stories.

Julie said...

Oh, yes, tell the cocoa beer story. Was there an explosion, or did it just taste grody?

Bells said...

Alwen that's an excellent tip. Thank you! You're good for that stuff.

This sounds great. We get Meyers here. I'd give it a go.

You know, it'd be weird to drink lemonade that wasn't fizzy, at first, but I'm sure you'd get used to it if it was good.

CoffeeLady said...

Another great way to enjoy Grand Marnier! (There WILL be globs of nutmeg floting in my pitcher...).