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If you read this blog often, you know I have a passion for lemonade. Perhaps too sweet but made with economy. In my method, you don’t have to squeeze a dozen lemons to get that 1 cup of lemon juice you find in many recipes.

No, I’ve been suggesting that you slice two lemons, put them into a blender, add 3 [or 4] cups of water, and a cup of sugar. Blend, strain, and you are there.

It makes for a great beverage, but there are a couple of problems. First, it can be too sweet and I’m never sure how much of the sugar is lost when you sieve the blended liquid. I have devised a better method:

[1] Make lemon water [just lemons and water in the blender]

[2] Make a sugar syrup — flavored as you’ll discover here

[3] For a glass of lemonade, use 4 ounces of lemon water and 1 ounces of the syrup [or perhaps more or less to meet your sweetness needs]

When the syrup is flavored, you will tend to need less of it to achieve a satisfactory flavor. And, so, less sugar intake. Your doctor would approve. Mine does.

I have two great syrup ideas. Here is the first. The other comes to you on Friday! So keep reading the blog.

Ah, want a great side benefit? Want an intense cocktail? Well, just add an ounce of orange-flavored vodka. I love Absolute Mandarin.

Cucumber, Mint and Basil Lemonade

Yield: abut 6 servings of lemonade [you may have leftover syrup for the next round]


For the lemon water:

  • 2 lemons
  • 3 cups of water

For the syrup:

  • 1 English cucumber [seedless]
  • 15 grams [a large handful of basil], or to taste
  • 10 grams [a modest handful of mint leaves], or to taste
  • 2 cups of water
  • 2 cups of sugar


Make the lemon water:

Cut off the ends of the two lemons, then quarter them. Put the lemon pieces in a blender. Add three cups of water.

Blend for a minute or so, then strain the liquid into a bowl. Pour the bowl contents into a lidded container and refrigerate.

Make the syrup:

Peel the cucumber, slice in half, and remove any seeds. If the cucumber is seedless, there still may be some membrane there. Cut the cucumber into two-inch pieces. Set aside.

Wash and dry the basil and mint leaves. Set aside.

Put the water and sugar into a medium saucepan, one big enough to accommodate the cucumber and leaves you will be adding.

Over medium heat, stir the sugar and water until the sugar is dissolved. Increase the heat to high and bring to a strong boil.

Remove the pan from the heat. Add the cucumber, basil, and mint. Stir to make sure the leaves are submerged as much as possible.

Let sit for an hour. Strain the syrup and refrigerate it in a sealed container.

Preparing a glass of lemonade:

Put 4 ounces of the lemon water into a glass. Add about 1 ounces of the flavored syrup. Add ice, stir and taste test. You may want more syrup, or you may have learned that, next time, you won’t need as much.

Sip and thank yourself that you did not have to juice a dozen lemons!

Source: Brian O’Rourke

Photo Information: Canon T2i, EFS 60mm Macro Lens, F/4 for 1/40th second at ISO‑500