Rating: 4.73 stars
73 Ratings
  • 5 star values: 63
  • 4 star values: 4
  • 3 star values: 3
  • 2 star values: 2
  • 1 star values: 1

I'm very excited to be showing you how to make real, authentic, vintage lemonade--the kind you might enjoy on a hot summer day at one of those stands at the state fair. Most of us make lemonade just out of lemon juice, but as you may know, the oils in the lemon peel contain a tremendous amount of flavor, and once you drink this, you won't want to go back to drinking it how you used to.

Recipe Summary

prep:
15 mins
cook:
5 mins
additional:
4 hrs 25 mins
total:
4 hrs 45 mins
Servings:
6
Yield:
1 1/2 quarts
Advertisement

Ingredients

6
Original recipe yields 6 servings
The ingredient list now reflects the servings specified
Ingredient Checklist

Directions

Instructions Checklist
  • Wash lemons and peel off all the zest using a vegetable peeler. Set peeled lemons aside. Add the lemon zest to a bowl and cover with sugar. Toss to combine. Cover and let sit for a minimum of 2 hours, or up to overnight.

    Advertisement
  • Bring water to a boil in a pot over high heat; turn off heat and pour in the lemon-sugar mixture. Stir and let sit until the sugar is completely dissolved, about 5 minutes.

  • Pour through a mesh strainer back into the same bowl and discard the zest. Let cool to room temperature, 20 to 30 minutes.

  • Cut the lemons in half and squeeze into the bowl. Pour lemonade into a serving pitcher. Wrap in plastic wrap and chill thoroughly before serving over ice, at least 2 hours.

Chef's Notes:

If your lemons feel waxy, give them a good scrub under hot water before using.

Feel free to adjust amounts of lemon juice and sugar.

Nutrition Facts

183 calories; protein 1.3g; carbohydrates 53.2g; fat 0.3g; sodium 9.2mg. Full Nutrition
Advertisement

Reviews (42)

73 Ratings
  • 5 star values: 63
  • 4 star values: 4
  • 3 star values: 3
  • 2 star values: 2
  • 1 star values: 1
Rating: 5 stars
08/28/2020
Absolutely wonderful, it tasted almost how my momma made it growing up on the farm, but it was just a touch off, so I called her and on her advice added a one teaspoon of vanilla extract and BOOM! that was the trick, I also made a gallon sizebatvh too so if you make the original you may only want a half teaspoon. will definitely be making this again, my wife and kids love it! Read More
(8)
Rating: 5 stars
08/18/2020
Excellent recipe! For those who are claiming its too sour, its not the recipe, you messed up. This recipe took me a whole day to make(i left the peel in sugar for a full 12 hours) but it was definitely worth it. My grandma who dislikes Lemonade actually enjoyed it. I will say that in my opinion it may actually be a bit too sweet so next time im going to cut out 1/4 cup of the sugar. I also think this recipe would be perfect to experiment with adding bitters for a little extra complexity. Read More
(8)
Rating: 5 stars
08/16/2020
This was amazing! Best lemonade I've ever had. Though for me it was a little syrupy but I just diluted with a little extra water. Read More
(5)
Advertisement
Rating: 5 stars
08/15/2020
Great recipe. I had smaller lemons so I used 3 extra, and also used 6 c water instead of 5. Came out perfect! Read More
(4)
Rating: 5 stars
08/31/2020
This was indeed the best lemonade that I've ever had. That oleo saccharum in tandem with the fresh fruit flavor really makes for a heck of a summer beverage. I've since made a double batch, which was also amazing, and tried it with limes as well. You just can't go wrong with this recipe. Protip: be careful to not get much of the pith into the bowl when skinning the fruit. If you do and find the results to be bitter, let it sit in the fridge for a day or two; this will mellow out these notes significantly. Finally, Chef John, you've inspired a recipe of my own. I call it Italian Lemonade. Read More
(3)
Rating: 5 stars
08/15/2020
Chef John is great....His lemonade is the best I have made!!!! Read More
(3)
Advertisement
Rating: 5 stars
08/18/2020
Best lemonade ever. I even tried it with various citrus fruits (lemons, oranges, grapefruits) and it was so complex and delicious. The mouth feel is even noticeably better. Make this now. Read More
(3)
Rating: 5 stars
08/25/2020
I just finished making it today. It's so good! I reduced the sugar by a little. There are some people who say it's too sour or bitter. Just make sure you follow the directions. I think people mess up where they don't let the oleo saccharum (lemon peels & sugar mixture) marinate for 12 hours. They also might mess up when they toss oleo saccharum into the boiling water. You should turn off the heat when the water boils. Then toss the peel sugar mixture. Quickly stir and strain immediately. Good luck on making this refreshing lemonade! :D Read More
(3)
Rating: 1 stars
08/14/2020
I just made this and it's EXTREMELY BITTER. I've now learned that those lemon peels are not typically added for a reason. I kept out as much of the white part of the peel as possible, and it's still SO BITTER. Read More
(3)