Honey Thyme Meyer Lemon Lemonade. Lemonade made with fresh meyer lemon juice and a honey thyme simple syrup. So very refreshing.
"If life gives you lemons, make lemonade" I think that saying is rather odd since I think lemons are wonderful. They add amazing brightness and acid to any dish, sweet or savory. And "lemon" being used to describe something that useless or doesn't work very well is funny to me too. Someone needs to come up with a better word, because actual lemons are anything but useless.
I have three lemon trees in my yard. My very prolific meyer lemon tree, a Eureka lemon tree that has finally started producing more lemons this year and a pink variegated lemon tree. The pink lemon tree is our newest one and it finally has flowers on it this year. Hoping the bees find it and pollinate them. They are currently busy sampling every flower on our tangerine, lime and meyer lemon trees.
I love having a lemon tree next to my patio in my backyard. I use lemons from it almost daily. I am getting close to using up the last of them and there are a ton of new flowers on it being pollinated but a bunch of very happy bees. Our hummingbirds that visit our house all day long love to get nectar from the flowers as well as perch on the leaves.
We have a hummingbird feeder just above the tree, suctioned to our window. It's a very happy spot in our yard. We love to watch the bees pollinate and the hummingbirds drink nectar all day long. The happier the birds and the bees are in my yard, the more lemons I get. Win win.
I love making a big pitcher of lemonade any time of the year. It's really simple to make a basic lemonade with sugar, lemons and water. I like to add a little more flavor to my lemonades with making a simple syrup and infusing them with herbs such as thyme, basil or mint.
I prefer making a simple syrup for homemade lemonade or iced tea since in mixes in well when cold rather than stirring like mad to get the sugar to dissolve in cold lemon juice.
Meyer lemons are perfect for lemonade since they tend to be a little sweeter than traditional lemons, like Eureka, and I can get a ton of juice out of each lemon. When I make lemonade, or any dish requiring lemon juice, I will zest the lemons first and save the zest in a freezer container to use later. Then the lemons get juiced and I will either make a homemade lemon vinegar cleaning solution or just add the rinds to our compost pile.
We don't have any food waste at our house. Everything gets used up.
A few notes before the recipe:
- Use the freshest lemons you can find. Ones that are still firm. The lemons I have on my tree are fairly large for meyer lemons. I used about 8-10 for 2 cups of juice.
- Start with a cup and a half of the lemon juice and add in syrup and water. Taste and adjust to your liking. You may want it more tart, add in more lemon juice. You may want it sweeter, add in more honey syrup
- Salt! Sounds weird, right? Salt makes sweet things taste better. Just a little pinch will enhance the sweetness of the syrup and the tartness of the lemons. Just a pinch is all you need.
- You can make the separate components ahead of time. Make the honey syrup a day before. Even juice the lemons and keep the juice in a jar in the fridge ready to go when you are ready to make the lemonade. I actually keep a large mason jar of lemon juice in my fridge to make lemonade, or to add in to recipes whenever I need it.
- Do I have to use meyer lemons? Nope. Use any lemons you like. I use meyer since that is what I have growing in my yard.
- How do I juice the lemons? Any way you want. I have several methods of juicing lemons. I have an electric juicer that I use to get a lot of juice quickly, when making a large batch of something like lemonade. I have a handheld aka manual citrus squeezer that juices half a lemon at a time. Great for smaller amounts of juice and takes up less space in a drawer. And I have another manual juicer that I use more for oranges than lemons when I want a small amount but they are too large for the handheld squeezer.
For the Honey Thyme Syrup:
- 1 cup water
- ½ cup honey
- ½ cup sugar
- Fresh thyme sprigs (5-10 sprigs)
For the Lemonade:
- 1 ½ cup to 2 cups fresh squeezed meyer lemon juice ( 8-12 large meyer lemons)
- 1 cup honey thyme syrup
- pinch kosher salt
- 4-6 cups cold water
Make the honey syrup:
In a small saucepan combine the water, honey and sugar and set over medium heat. Stir until the sugar and honey are dissolved then bring the mixture to a simmer. Let simmer for 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and add in the fresh thyme. 5 sprigs for a subtle thyme flavor, 10 for stronger. Let steep 30 minutes to one hour. The more thyme sprigs you use and the longer you steep it the stronger the thyme flavor. Strain out the thyme and pour into a resealable container or jar. Place in refrigerator until completely chilled. This can be made a day ahead of time. This makes a little over a cup of syrup.
To make the lemonade:
Combine a cup and a half of the lemon juice, honey syrup and stir well. Add in 4 cups of cold water and stir. Taste and add in more water, syrup or more lemon juice depending on how tart, sweet or strong you like your lemonade.
Keep chilled until ready to serve. Serve over ice with a fresh lemon slice and a sprig of fresh thyme.
You can make the honey syrup a day or so ahead of time. Keep chilled until ready to use. It makes a little over a cup of syrup. You can use it all in the lemonade or save a little to sweeten a cocktail.
You don't have to use meyer lemons but I find they are a little less acidic than traditional lemons.
Fresh thyme works best for this recipe. If you can't find fresh you can omit it, but it wont have that nice herby note to the lemonade. Use only a few sprigs for a hint of thyme, more if you want a stronger flavor.
This meyer lemon lemonade is so so good on its own. And also great with a shot of whiskey, vodka or rum. Would even make a killer lemonade margarita!