The Best Lemonade You’ll Ever Have (With a Secret Ingredient!)

We have five-and-a-half weeks of summer before the first day of fall. That’s 38 full days to ride bikes, wear shorts and drink icy lemonade. (Or you could host a lemonade stand: in NYC, you can make $240!). Luckily for us, Ashley from Not Without Salt is sharing the most refreshing recipe ever (which you can easily turn into a cocktail)…

The Best Lemonade You’ll Ever Have
By Ashley of Not Without Salt

Before my son’s school year ended, we were already making plans for our summer project: a lemonade stand. While we’re still in negotiations with our six-year-old over exactly what the structure of the stand will entail, one thing is for sure—we’ve nailed our lemonade recipe.

Honey and lemons are a natural pairing, curing the common cold with their soothing warmth of sweetness and tang. So in our recipe, we’ve added a touch of light clover honey which sets our icy cup apart from the other neighborhood kids.

Regardless of how our stand shapes up, we can be sure to attract many a thirsty sidewalk traveler with our special brew. If you’re in Seattle, seek out our stand—and if not, whisk up a batch of this summer standard yourself.

Recipe: The Best Lemonade
Makes 6-8 servings

This is our base recipe but we’ve been known to steep rosemary in the mix, toss in fresh strawberries, or add shot of vodka or gin for the adults. (Add herbs while the syrup is still warm and then let steep as the syrup cools in the fridge. For a stronger flavor, you can boil the herbs with the syrup.)

You’ll need:
¼ cup honey (use a light-flavored honey such as clover)
¼ cup sugar
1 cup water
1 cup fresh lemon juice (about 6 to 8 lemons)
2-3 cups water (for diluting)

In a small saucepan, combine the honey, sugar and 1 cup water. Bring to a boil, then turn off the heat. Give this mixture a quick stir to ensure all the sugar has dissolved. Chill this syrup in the fridge.

Meanwhile, juice enough lemons to produce 1 cup of lemon juice. (I like a bit of pulp in my lemonade, so I strain the juice and then add back a bit of pulp.)

When the syrup is cool, combine it with the lemon juice in a pitcher. Add in 2 cups water. (I prefer my lemonade strong but if it’s a bit too strong for you simply add more water.) Add ice and enjoy in the sun.

Mix it up: This is our base recipe but we’ve been known to steep rosemary or lavender (add them to the warm syrup, so they can steep while it chills), toss in fresh strawberries, or add shot of vodka or gin for the adults.

Thank you so much, Ashley!

P.S. More best recipes, including apple pie and a peach tart.

(Photos and recipe by Ashley from Not Without Salt. Thanks to Shoko for help with this series.)

  1. This recipe is delicious. Made a couple of batches since i got the recipe. I did tweak it a little to my liking but i cant tell you how. . Thats my little secret lol one of my friends loved it so much she insisted i give her the recipe. Lovely and refreshing for these hot farnorth qld days!

  2. Thanks for sharing! I am making this today.

  3. lemon ,water,rock salt,little sugar and dried mint leaves powder

  4. I find it funny how all the American lemonade recipes I find are for a still lemony drink. In the UK, if you order a lemonade, it’s always going to be fizzy!

  5. Delicious! Living in Israel you can’t get lemonade without fresh mint leaves in it, and I am SO pleased with their genius.

  6. I tried this with lavender today! The color was beautiful!

  7. Our summer heat is only JUST hitting us in the bipolar-weather Netherlands, and I can’t wait to bring a thermos of this to the park. NUM!

  8. Wow, this Lemonade does sound AMAZING!
    I am definitely going to try it.

    I remember making Lemonade in food tech at school, and it was quite horrible.

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  10. This looks so yummy! All the extras like lavender and vodka sound good too ;)


  11. I’d love to make this for my daughter’s 1st birthday (for the adults!)…how long does it keep in the fridge? x

  12. This looks great! I can’t wait to try it with rosemary. And I agree with Megan (above). Not Without Salt is such a wonderful food blog; Ashley’s photography is beautiful. I am so glad to find this on A Cup of Jo!

  13. try adding a bit of fresh basil instead of the rosemary… it is by far the BEST lemonade i’ve ever had!!

  14. Yum! Can’t believe Summer is coming to a close so soon.

  15. I drool over Ashley’s posts at Not Without Salt as often as she posts them… this is no exception! I don’t know if I’ve ever seen photos that look quite so sweet and refreshing :)


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  17. This sounds like the perfect recipe for lemonade. Ashley’s recipe for brussel sprouts changed my mind about them forever. I also love her version of the Bee’s Knees cocktail, also with honey and lemon…plus gin. :)

  18. Anonymous says...

    I have to also share that a shot of ouzo is incredibly refreshing and delish in lemonade! I only know this because I’m Greek, but my guests always love this and are so surprised by how good it is!

  19. B says...

    Mmmmmm! Can’t wait to try this (probably this weekend)! Thanks for inspiring me to take advantage of the rest of my summer!


  20. Love my lemonade.This summer my not so secret ingredient is mint. I steep about 10 peppermint leaves in one cup of the water and add it to the pitcher after it cools a bit. The rosemary sounds good though. Maybe I’ll try that in my next pitcher. Thanks

  21. Oh man! I love the idea of using lavender, or rosemary for that matter! Sounds so refreshing :)

    xx -b.

  22. It’s so refreshing (no pun intended!) to see some summery things still posted! I feel like everyone is already posting about fall! So sad! We still have some lovley summer left in us!

  23. Anonymous says...

    oh, i see now, thanks!

  24. ooh, lemonade at a wedding, what a sweet idea!

  25. Honey and lemons sound like the perfect combination! I love lemonade, it’s so refreshing.

  26. Anonymous says...

    what is the secret ingredient? (or is it the “extras” you can choose to add in, i.e. strawberries or rosemary)?

  27. It’s a lemon-centric day on your blog. Lemonade is my weakness. This recipe may not wait until the weekend to make!


  28. This lemonade looks divine! Cloudy lemonade is my favourite!

    Abi x

  29. Thanks for sharing! This sounds delicious, I’m going to try and whip up a batch of this this weekend! :)


  30. Thank you, Joanna. I’ve been meaning to look up lemonade recipes to make 2 big dispensers full for my September wedding in LA!