Red Zinger Lemonade

>> Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Memorial Day (and all other summer days off from work) calls for a big dose of lemonade. And in honor of the holiday yesterday, that's just what we made. Now, I grew up a fan of the from-concentrate Minute Maid frozen mix (both regular and pink varieties), which is likely more radioactive material than natural ingredients. Add water and stir are the simplest directions, too, so it's difficult to pass on. But I have done just that in an effort to eat more healthfully.

However, other adventures in making my own tasty drink have been completely steeped in sugar. So, yesterday I set myself up for a challenge: Create an amazing . . . yet relatively healthy beverage worthy of holiday celebration. After a bit of messing around in the kitchen, the mixture was done. Overall, I'd declare the try a success.

The secret's in the Red Zinger. And the best part is that you can make bigger batches if you end up liking it. Just make extra tea (the boiled water and Red Zinger) and keep in cold in the fridge. Then extra syrup (the sugar-water-ginger mixture) -- keep that cold, too. Grab a couple lemons, and that's really all you need to make this stuff on the spot.

What you'll need . . . (for 6 small glasses, 4 tall)
  • 3 cups water, boiled
  • 2 tea bags of Red Zinger -- or any other tea you think might work well
  • 3 lemons (or enough to create 1 cup of fresh lemon juice)
  • 1/2 cup natural sugar
  • 1/2 cup water
  • Another 1/2 to 1 cup water
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • Frozen blueberries, cherries, and lemon slices (to garnish)

Method . . .
  1. Boil the 3 cups of water and throw in the tea bags for about 10 minutes. Then remove and squeeze (to get all the tea goodness into the water). Pour into a large pitcher and refrigerate.
  2. In a small saucepan, mix together the 1/2 cup sugar and 1/2 cup water. Over medium-high heat, bring to a boil, then down to a simmer -- add the ginger -- and stir for 2 to 3 minutes. Add to your pitcher and continue to cool in the refrigerator.
  3. After about 15 minutes has passed (and the mixture has begun to cool), squeeze your lemon juice from your lemons and add to the pitcher. Then stir in the additional water to taste. 1/2 cup yields a sweet/tart lemonade (how I like it) a full cup dilutes it so the taste is less intense (how Stephen likes it).
  4. Continue to cool until cold. Then serve with the frozen fruit and lemon slices.

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