The sun is finally shining and life is giving us plenty of lemons. Let's make Vanilla Lemonade with a lemon vanilla syrup made with real vanilla beans. It's absolutely heavenly.
We've had a surprisingly beautiful April here in Scotland. I can't remember a warmer Spring. We're all wondering if the weather is objectively better or if it just feels sunnier because we can't go outside.
We had almost non-stop rain and horrible wind for what felt like about four months, but basically from the day we were asked to stay at home, the sun has been taunting us.
Lots of people are also wondering if this is because of the reduced pollution or if it's really just a coincidence. I have absolutely no idea, and I don't even know if that's something scientist could quantify. The improved air quality can only be a good thing for all of us, and I wonder if we'll actually be motivated to appreciate the air we breathe a little bit more when this is all over.
When the sun is shining in all it's glory, there's only one thing most British people want to do. Just sit outside. They don't even really seem to do anything out there. They just sit. Well, if I'm going to sit outside, I want something awesome to drink, and this Vanilla Lemonade hits the spot.
It's the perfect balance of tart and sweet, and the vanilla gives it this heady aroma that's almost exotic. Vanilla is such an underappreciated flavor. It's much more sophisticated than it's common descriptor "plain" gives it credit for. I'd bathe in it if I could.
How to make Vanilla Lemonade
The first thing we need to do when making this Vanilla Lemonade is to make the lemon vanilla syrup. It's simple. We add equal parts sugar and water to a small sauce pan. Use a vegetable peeler to remove just the yellow part of about half a lemon in fat strips. Split a vanilla pod down the middle, use the back of your knife to scrape out the beans, then add the lemon peel, vanilla beans, and the pod to the pot. Heat the whole thing over gentle heat until the sugar is dissolved. Let it simmer gently for about 10 minutes, then take it off the heat and leave it to cool and infuse with the lemon and vanilla.
Strain this into a big pitcher. Some of the vanilla beans will get through, but I don't mind this at all. Then we're going to top this up with lots of lemon juice. I use a mix of fresh squeezed and bottled lemon juice depending on how many lemons I feel like squeezing. The rest is just cold water and ice. Find the balance that's right for you.
I hope you're able to enjoy some sunshine right now wherever you are. Even if you only have an open window, sit under it, listen to the birds, and sip some Vanilla Lemonade. Make it awesome, friends. No one can take that away.
Vanilla LemonadeCourse: DrinksCuisine: AmericanDifficulty: Easy
Vanilla Lemonade is frangrant and sweet made with a syrup using real vanilla beans.
1 cup sugar
1 cup water
3 slices of lemon peel
1 vanilla bean
Pinch of salt
½ cup lemon juice
8-10 cups water
Lemon slices, to garnish, optional
- Start by making a lemon simple syrup. Add your sugar and water to a small sauce pan and stir to combine. Use a vegetable peeler to remove just the yellow part of the lemon peel . Three slices or about half the lemon will do. Add this to the pan. Split your vanilla pod down the middle and use the back of your knife to scrape out the seeds. Add the seeds and pod to the pan. Add in a pinch of salt.
- Heat the syrup over medium heat just until it starts to bubble. Reduce the heat to low and let it gently simmer for about 10 minutes. Remove from heat and let it cool and infuse the lemon and vanilla flavors.
- Once the syrup is cooled, strain this into a large pitcher. You may want to hold some back to adjust the sweetness at the end. Or just dump it all in and add more water. You do you.
- Add your lemon juice to the pitcher then add your water. Taste as you go until you get the balance of sweet and tart that is best for you. Add lemon slices to garnish if you like.
- Serve over ice and sip in the sunshine.
Recipe slightly adapted from Simply Scratch.