Memorial Day Weekend has passed, so I’ve officially declared it summer. I’m ready for hot days, warm nights, and lots of outdoor parties. And for outdoor parties, I love whipping up a big batch of drinks ahead of time so I’m not stuck inside mixing while everyone else enjoys the sunshine. My go-to summer beverage is definitely lemonade. I even rang in summer this past weekend with a few friends and a pitcher of this cucumber mint lemonade spiked with tequila!
Lemonade is the perfect party drink for a few reasons:
- It tastes even better the next day (especially if you’re adding extra ingredients)
- Most people like lemonade (sure, there are always exceptions, but a lot of people do!)
- It’s easy to turn into a cocktail without making an entirely different batch of drinks
The one downside to making lemonade is squeezing all those lemons—even with a citrus squeezer the process can feel grueling. If, however, you have a juicer you can easily speed up the process! All you have to do is peel the skins off the lemons with a paring knife and zip the peeled fruit through the juicer. You’ll have a cup of juice before you know it!
My favorite part of this lemonade recipe (and really, any recipe that allows me to easily tweak flavors to create even more variety in my weekly meal plans) is how easy it is to switch up the flavors. Feel free to add more sugar and mint to suit your tastes. I opted for a subtle hint of mint in this recipe, but you can definitely double or triple the amount! With the base recipe of 1 cup of lemon juice to 2 cups of cold water you can change up the extras, too! Try adding some jalapeños to this recipe or switching out the cucumber and mint for watermelon and basil. Let us know your favorite lemonade combinations in the comments!
- 1 cup lemon juice (about 8 lemons)
- 1 large cucumber
- ⅓ cup sugar dissolved in 1 /3 cup water
- 1 Tbs sugar
- 2-3 sprigs fresh mint
- 2 cups cold water
- Using a paring knife, peel the lemons. You want to get most of the rind and pith off, but if you’re using a juicer you don’t have to be too fussy. Juice the lemons until you have about eight cups of juice. It’s OK if you end up with a little more, but err on the side of more instead of less.
- Juice the cucumber. If you’d like a less green lemonade, peel it first. It will still be pretty green, but it will be a more mellow shade. (If you don’t have a juicer, you could blend the cucumber and mint with the lemon juice in a blender and then strain through cheesecloth.)
- Mix the lemon juice, cucumber juice, and sugar water in a large pitcher. In a cocktail shaker or tall glass, muddle the mint leaves with the tablespoon of sugar.
- Mix the muddled mint and two cups of water into the lemon and cucumber mixture. Chill for at least an hour or overnight. Strain the mint leaves out of the lemonade before serving.
- Serve chilled over ice. You can also mix a shot of tequila or vodka into about 8 ounces of the lemonade for a refreshing summer cocktail!