Thirsty Thursday: Vanilla Thyme Lemonade
MUSIC PAIRING: Jason Derulo, Talk Dirty
I know it’s hard to believe but I do enjoy non-alcoholic beverages. While I’m pretty sure a well-made margarita is the greatest thing on earth, every now and again a regular ol’ drink comes along that I’d happily sip booze free. Lemonade is one of those drinks.
As a kid, I would forego a Mickey D’s milkshake any day of the week if it meant I could have a Chick-fil-A lemonade instead. Don’t even try to mess with my hashbrowns, though. McDonalds wins that fight every time. I’ve loved lemons like mad for as long as I can remember. A perfectly balanced lemonade makes me think of sitting outside in the shade with my toes in the grass while the sound of the neighbor’s lawn mower whirred away next door. See, I grew up without video games or a TV in my room or even call waiting. Dude, we had rotary phones until I graduated from high school. In 1998. I mean. Let me tell you how pissed off I would get when I couldn’t page my friends back when pagers were the thing. I’m still holding a grudge. That said, I had to actually go play outside and use my imagination and interact with my friends. What?! These days, I don’t think kids even speak. Technology is taking over our lives and not in the best way. I’ll do you a favor and step down off that soapbox before bad things happen. Weren’t we talking about lemonade?
It might sound funny to those who grew up in households full of soda and candy but I got super giddy over something like lemonade. That was a treat for me. I remember a very brief period of time where Mom would let us buy packets of Crystal Light and that was dang near as good as Christmas day. Yes, the little things excited me even as a child. Eventually, when we realized that lemonade was super easy to make, we got to squeezing and soon enough, Crystal Light was a distant memory.
Today, I have an elevated version of lemonade that I think is fantastic. I was asked to make a cocktail for a BYOB event tomorrow night and I got to thinking that lemonade would be super easy to make ahead of time and add booze to last minute. Additionally, folks who don’t drink could enjoy it too so that’s just a plus all around. I didn’t want to do a typical lemonade though so when I came across a recipe for vanilla thyme lemonade, I was sold.
This is perfectly tart in the best way with lovely underlying hints of each ingredient. It’s simply delightful when you can taste layers of flavor throughout whatever you eat or drink. It’s so pleasing to the palate and definitely what keeps folks coming back for more. Now, if only I could figure out a way to enjoy this in a hammock on my fire escape.
Why Jason Derulo? Jason’s music is catchy, plain and simple. It’s not completely my style but when it’s a gorgeous day out, you’re making lemonade and subsequently dreaming of rooftop parties in Summer, you need a lively soundtrack to go along.
Recipe adapted from: Madlovefood on Food52
- 1/2 cup white sugar
- 1 cup water
- 1 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 1/2 tablespoons honey
- 1 small bunch thyme, plus some for garnish
- 1 cup fresh lemon juice (I used 4 lemons)
- Sparkling water
- Lemon slices for garnish
- Combine the sugar, water, vanilla, honey and thyme into a pot and stir over a medium heat until the sugar dissolves. Strain to remove thyme and allow to cool.
- Stir lemon juice into sugar syrup. Pour into a glass with ice and top with a splash of sparkling water. Garnish with a lemon slice and sprig of thyme. Repeat for each glass.
- Gin or vodka would be nice here if you wanted to add a boozy touch.
- I err on the side of less sweet any time I'm making drinks or cocktails so feel free to adjust sugar and honey levels if you find that you'd like more.