Summery Homemade Lemonade made with Simple Syrup

For my Triple Crown party this past Saturday, the official drink, the Belmont Jewel, called for bourbon, pomegranate juice, and lemonade. While I can’t make bourbon or pomegranate juice, what I can do is fresh squeeze myself some lemonade! And it was truly better than anything you can buy in a carton. Here’s how I did it:

Ingredients: Serves 20 (8 oz. servings)

3 1/2 cups granulated sugar

3 cups freshly squeezed lemon juice (about 20 lemons)

16 cups water

2 large ice chunks (see below)

In a saucepan, combine sugar and 2 cups water. Bring to a boil, stir to dissolve sugar and remove from heat. Let this simple syrup cool to room temperature, then place in the refrigerator until chilled.

In a large pitcher, stir together fresh squeezed lemon juice (try not to get too many seeds), simple syrup, and remaining 14 cups of water. Place two large ice blocks in the pitcher to keep it cool for many hours. Garnish with several slices of lemon.

To make the ice blocks: Using two balloons, fill each fairly full with tap water, leaving enough slack so they balloons don’t burst when freezing. Tie the balloons off and place in the freezer overnight. When ready to use, cut the balloons open with a knife and the skin of the balloon will come away easily. The large size of the chunks keeps the surface area of the ice low, so the lemonade doesn’t get watered down as it melts. Thanks to Alton Brown for this ingenious idea! No more need to waste money on buying big ice chunks!

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