When Alyssa and I were brainstorming for this month’s posts, I mentioned that I wanted to try some sort of spin on lemonade. I sure do love lemon flavored anything, but it’s such a classic flavor that sometimes you want to branch out a bit and see what you can come up with. Alyssa mentioned that she’s recently had some delicious vanilla bean lemonade and so, of course, that’s what I went with.
It’s a bit hard to tell in the photo, but this lemonade was incredibly infused with tiny black vanilla bean flavor dots. It’s such an amazing combination that I can’t believe I’ve never seen it before.
- 1 1/2 cups sugar
- 1 1/2 cups water
- 2 cups fresh squeezed lemon juice, strained of seeds and bits
- 1-2 vanilla bean pods
- 8 cups cold water
- Split your vanilla beans in half lengthwise and scoop out the seeds with a small spoon. Set aside.
- Add your sugar and 1 1/2 cups water to a saucepan and bring to a boil. Once boiling, add your vanilla beans and simmer for a few minutes until sugar is dissolved. Remove from heat and cool completely.
- Once your simple syrup is cool, pour into a pitcher. Add your lemon juice and the 8 cups of cold water. Stir together.
- Chill in the refrigerator for several hours.
- Pour over ice (adding lemon slices, if you like) and enjoy!
As usual when making lemonade, feel free to add a bit of additional water or lemon juice to bring the lemonade flavor to your liking. And don’t forget that you shouldn’t toss your pods- they’re perfect for making Alyssa’s vanilla bean sugar!
(P.S. Next time I’m making this, I’m going to make an extra batch of vanilla bean simple syrup- can you imagine how amazing it will taste when flavoring tea?!)
A few notes about the process:
I prefer to add vanilla beans to the hot simple syrup mixture because the heat helps to infuse the flavor and incorporate it into the sugar. Simply adding the vanilla beans to the final lemonade doesn’t work as well since the vanilla beans bunch up and don’t get as much cozy, vanilla-y flavor into the drink.
Similarly, I don’t like adding the fresh lemon juice to the simple syrup mixture when it’s hot. I know lots of folks who make lemonade this way, but I find that it gives the lemons a more mature flavor (something closer to a cooked taste) and loses the fresh, crisp subtlety that I like in lemonade!
The finished product is seriously out of this world and I can’t wait for you to try it. Definitely let me know what you think!