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« Harness the Sun – for Tea! | Main | Grilled Fish with Pineapple Salsa »

A Less Sugary Lemonade

By Katie Barreira

I love lemonade, but have you ever looked at the label? Sugar usually comes before lemon juice! How to enjoy my favorite summer refresher without sucking down my weight in sucrose?

Well, if I could somehow make the lemonade less tart then I wouldn’t need as much sugar to balance it out. Solution: the orange-hued Meyer lemon, a hybrid between a lemon and a tangerine, which has a natural floral-like sweetness and lower acidity than a traditional lip-puckering lemon.

Now that I was using less sugar, I had to consider its form. Typically, I make lemonade with simple syrup (a combination of sugar and water that’s been heated until the sugar dissolves) because this combines effortlessly into the cold water and lemon juice. But in a moment of food science inspiration, I recalled this tidbit from a cocktail class: when heated, sucrose turns into higher viscosity fructose, from which our palates don’t register flavor as well. So, by keeping all the ingredients cold and using a little elbow grease, I could make the lemonade taste sweeter with less sugar.

Finally, top the lemonade off with a splash of sparkling water; there’s nothing like a little effervescence to make a person feel refreshed.

With all those calories saved on sweetener, you can feel free to add a shot of booze to your beverage. Vodka is the obvious choice and a great one at that. Other winners: gin, dry vermouth, tequila and sparkling wine. (Try this one at your next brunch!)

To get the recipe and shopping list on your smartphone (iPhone, BlackBerry, Android device) or PC, click here.

Sparkling Meyer Lemonade
Makes 4 cups

1-1/2 cups filtered water
1-1/2 cups freshly squeezed Meyer lemon juice (about 6 Meyer lemons)
1/2 to 3/4 cup sugar (taste it with 1/2 and add more if you like)
Chilled sparkling water

  1. Combine filtered water, Meyer lemon juice and sugar in a pitcher or large bowl and stir until the sugar is dissolved. Serve over ice, topped off with sparkling water.

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