Iced drinks are a bit of a specialty of mine. I am not talking about alcoholic drinks. I just like to make a variety of beautiful iced drinks to serve on a summer day on the patio (not that there were too many days to sit outside with all the rain that we have been getting). I make breakfast drinks, iced tea, iced coffee, sangria, fruit essence and all kinds of lemonade. Lemonade is really one of my favourite drinks. Sweet and tangy and crisp it hits the mark every time. There are good lemonade mix products that you can buy and I usually have some on hand to use on occassion. However, a freshly made lemonade with real lemon juice, sugar syrup and special flavouring is in a class by itself.
You can flavour lemonade with fruit syrup, from raspberries to blackberries to pomegranates and more. I am not sure if you have tried it but I like to flavour lemonades with fresh herbs. I make a rosemary lemonade, thyme lemonade, mint lemonades etc. The savoury notes of the herbs make a very special lemonade.
The process is very simple, just steep fresh herbs in boiling water to extract the flavour and use the water as part of the lemonade ingredients. Be sure to save a few fresh sprigs for garnishing in the pitcher and each of the glasses. This way you get a whiff of the herb as you sip it slowly, and it looks pretty through the glass.
1 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 cup sugar
1 cup water
4 cups boiling water
A handful of fresh, rinsed thyme sprigs
2 cups ice cubes
4-6 cup cold water
Place thyme sprigs in a bowl and pour the boiling water over.Let the thyme steep in the water for a few hours or overnight in the refrigerator. When ready to proceed remove and discard the thyme leaves and strain the water through a fine sieve.
Bring the water and sugar to a boil, cook for a few minutes to dissolve the sugar completely. Remove from heat and add the ice to speed up the cooling.
Place lemons juice and thyme essence water in a pitcher and then add the cooled syrup.
Add 4 cups cold water and taste the lemonade. Add the additional 2 cups water until the right flavour is reached.
Add a few fresh thyme sprigs to the pitcher.
Serve in pretty glasses with ice, a wedge of lemon and fresh thyme springs for garnish.