Think old-school lemonade stand meets fun, fabulous mix-ins to create a new spin on that old summer standard. Lemonade is a great drink for summer parties. Whether you make it fresh, buy it at the store, or use a powdered mix, it's hard to go wrong with cold lemonade on a hot day. Here are some of my fun ideas to dress up your lemonade by making a lemonade station- an adult version of the old-school lemonade stand- perfect for any party, wedding, rehearsal dinner, or supper club!
Making a lemonade stand doesn't require a lot of wood and building, a simple table will work. Recently, I wanted to show Daytime Alabama viewers how to make a lemonade stand for a large party or wedding and asked my friends Corey & Jared from the Sonnet House to help me out. Corey decked out the table and I did the lemonades. Burlap from the fabric store, Mason jars, and large containers of lemonade, cute paper straws, and a big sign are all you need.
Start with large containers or pitchers of lemonade. Add bowls of your favorite flavors: think spices, fruit, herbs, liquor, or even Kool-Aid mixes for the kids. Be creative. Almost anything tastes good with lemonade as the base!
When I am in a hurry or on the road without a kitchen, I buy pre-made lemonade from the store. If I am in the South, I often get the Chic-fil-A's gallon lemonade to go. Those are my favorites if I cannot make my own. And let me tell you, if you use the CountryTime mix, add the juice of two lemons and lots of lemon slices into it, guests won't know it's not fresh. Do what you can... I prefer the fresh when time, budget, and location allows:)
I always put out a little menu board to give guests some ideas of flavors that work well together. I write them on a chalkboard but you can write or print recipes.
BASIC LEMONADE RECIPE
It's really simple. Four cups of water to one cup fresh squeezed lemon juice plus 1/2 cup of sugar. That's it!
To make enough for 4-5 servings:
2 cups fresh squeezed lemon juice
1 cup sugar (more to taste if you like it really sweet)
7-8 cups water
In a pitcher, add the sugar and the lemon juice and stir well to dissolve the sugar. Add the water and chill.
Serving Tips:On a hot day, I will use 1 cup less water because I know the lemonade will become diluted with the melting ice. Often, I will freeze lemonade into ice cubes or freeze large plastic containers of lemonade. I put the lemonade into a large plastic milk jug or other repurposed plastic bottle. Freeze solid. A few hours before the party, I remove them from the freezer and allow them to become slushy. Soooo good on a hot day!
MIX-INS AND OPTIONS FOR A LEMONADE STATION
Strawberries, sliced plus strawberry puree
Watermelon slices plus watermelon puree
Peach slices plus peach nectar (find it in a can in the international aisle of the store)
Vodka - I usually include a plain vodka and one flavored, like citrus or raspberry flavored
VARIATIONS ON THE CLASSIC LEMONADE RECIPE
Perfect for kids and adults, too!
Add a tablespoon of Grenadine to the basic recipe. Stir well to color your lemonade bright pink. If you want a soft pink color, for a baby shower, for example, use less grenadine.
Half iced tea, half lemonade.
ARNOLD PALMER WITH SPIKES
Add a shot of vodka (I use citrus flavored) to your Arnold Palmer.
Add 1 ounce cherry vodka, 3 maraschino cherries and a 1 teaspoon cherry juice to each glass of lemonade. Add a squeeze of lime.
PEACH TEA LEMONADE
1/3 each peach nectar, sweet tea, and classic lemonade per serving.
MINT INFUSED LEMONADE
Add a big handful of fresh mint leaves to the sugar and one cup of the water. Make a simple syrup- bring to a boil, reduce the heat and stir until the sugar dissolves. Remove from the heat, allow to cool completely. Strain into the pitcher and add the lemon juice and the remaining water.
Add a shot of Pama Liqueur. Yummmmy!
Basic Lemonade recipe
One container of fresh raspberries (I like to use Driscoll's because they are always FRESH!)
3/4 cup Chambord Liqueur
1 tablespoon grenadine (optional but pretty!)
1 ounce vodka per glass (I like the new Chambord Pink vodka but you can use plain)
Save a few raspberries for extra garnish. Soak the remainder in the Chambord for an hour. Then add the raspberries in the liqueur plus the grenadine to your chilled lemonade. Stir. To serve, put one ounce vodka in each glass. Fill with ice. Top with the raspberry lemonade.
RASPBERRY VANILLA LEMONADE
This version uses vanilla simple syrup, fresh raspberries and fresh lemonade. Add raspberry vodka, Chambord and some club soda for fizz. Get the recipe...
Put 4 fresh mint leaves into the bottom of the glass. Add a little ice. Use a wooden spoon to bruise the mint with the ice. Add 1 1/2 ounces Kentucky bourbon and fill the glass with lemonade. My Kentucky bourbon of choice right now is Four Roses. Their Yellow Label is perfect for this drink... side note, the single barrel is really good on it's own.
VANILLA BEAN PLANTATION LEMONADE
When making the classic lemonade, omit the sugar and one cup water and use it to make a simple syrup. Make the vanilla infused simple syrup by adding one vanilla bean, slit it down the center, scrape the seeds and add to one cup of the water and the sugar. Bring to a boil. Immediately turn the heat down to low and stir until the sugar dissolves completely. Remove from the heat. Allow to cool completely. Add remaining water and lemon juice. Stir to combine. Read the full blog post on this delicious summer treat!
Want to take your lemonade to another level? Try making your own Italian lemon liqueur... Limoncello!