Lemonade made with honey and ginger adds a kick to a classic.
A few weekends ago, spring was temporarily shoved aside by summer who decided he’d had enough of waiting his turn. It was warm — no, hot — and I opened up all the windows on the off chance a cool breeze might find its way inside. It felt good to be hot for the first time in months, and it made me a little lazy, so I decided to sit outside and enjoy it for a while.
It was one of those days when you want to kick off your shoes and walk barefoot on the grass. The kind you spend lounging around for hours eating, drinking and forgetting your worries. It was the kind of day you want to spend en plein air (outdoors); this was perfect picnic weather.
There is something incredibly indulgent about a picnic. Even if you only pack a few simple things at the last minute and head over to the neighborhood park, it’s a special occasion. It may be nothing fancier than a few sandwiches and a couple cool drinks, but the act of eating a meal outdoors holds with it the promise of a carefree day.
Maybe it’s because we don’t often take the time to sit outside, relax and enjoy the sunshine. Picnicking is an unhurried pleasure, and lazily passing the day observing the world around us is a luxury we don’t treat ourselves to nearly enough.
A cool glass of honey ginger lemonade seems just right on one of those lovely, long, lazy days outside. It starts with simple syrup made from equal parts water and honey, heated briefly to dissolve. Into that goes the “zing,” a few ounces of grated ginger, and it’s left to infuse. Once the syrup is made, the lemonade is almost ready to pour. The syrup is strained, cooled and mixed with fresh lemon juice, cold water, and ice cubes. Add a little vodka for extra kick, and this sweet and spicy lemonade transforms into a light cocktail.
What are your favorite things to bring on a picnic?
Serves Serves 4 to 6
A cool glass of honey ginger lemonade seems just right on one of those lovely, long, lazy summer days.
30 minPrep Time
- 1 cup (250ml) honey (I use wildflower honey)
- 1 cup (250ml) water (filtered or spring)
- 4oz (115g) fresh ginger root, peeled and finely grated (I use a microplane zester)
- 1 cup (250ml) fresh squeezed lemon juice, strained (about 5 large lemons)
- 3 cups (750ml) cold filtered or spring water (flat or sparkling)
- 1/2 cup (125ml) vodka (optional)
- Ice for serving
- Sliced lemons and mint sprigs for garnish (optional)
- Place the honey and water in a medium saucepan, bring to a boil and simmer until honey is completely dissolved.
- Turn off heat and add the freshly grated ginger and any juices. Cover and let steep for 30 minutes.
- Strain syrup thorough a fine mesh sieve into a bowl, pressing hard on the ginger pulp and then discarding the solids.
- Pour into a bottle or jar, let cool completely and then chill until cold, about 1 hour. The syrup will keep in your refrigerator for up to two weeks.
- Add the freshly squeezed lemon juice and the honey ginger syrup to a large pitcher.
- Add 3 cups of cold water (more or less depending on how strong you like your lemonade). If you are using sparkling water don’t add it until you are ready to serve so that it doesn’t lose its fizz. Add the vodka now as well if using. Refrigerate until ready to serve.
- Pour lemonade over ice filled glasses, top with a slice of lemon, and garnish with a sprig of mint.
- You can also steep the syrup with mint or basil in the hot syrup for a different variation.
- The honey ginger syrup is also great for sweetening iced tea and other beverages.
In celebration of Earth Day today please join me and a group of friends and fellow bloggers on a Virtual Picnic for the Planet. We are sharing some of our favorite warm weather picnic recipes as part of The Nature Conservancy Picnic for the Planet, a celebration of the Earth, the food it provides and the importance of making meaningful choices that are healthy for us and good for the planet. For more information about Picnic for the Planet please visit http://earthday.nature.org/picnic.
Be sure to check out the entire Virtual Picnic Menu below:
Simple Bites | Pressed Sandwiches
My Baking Addiction | Mixed Berry Cheesecakes in a Jar
Bluebonnets & Brownies | Nanny’s Potato Salad
Dine & Dish | Sangria
Add A Pinch | Herbed Tortellini Salad
Bakers Royale | Fruit Recipe Roundup
Three Many Cooks | Black and White Caviar
Food for My Family | Homemade Potato Chips and Avocado Ranch Dip
Sugarcrafter | Apple Hand Pies
Tickled Red | Tangy Potato Salad
What’s Cooking with Kids | Kale Chips
Confessions of a Cookbook Queen | Mini Lemonade Cakes
TidyMom | Picnic Pies in a Jar