Well, what an amazing change in Adelaide from one day to the next. A few days ago it was cloudy, grey, still a bit damp, cold and generally still miserable, however, come the first day of Spring and OH what happened overnight. Florals came out, colour arrived and the sun appeared, to show off her new season's hues, as well. As hearts lifted across the city, I too, felt like singing and dancing. My child and I skipped around a local park and saw the footy in progress; children out in their tens at least, in the playgrounds, people just sitting taking it all in, on benches that haven't been so polished for about six months, wooden ones obviously, and just people - out and about, so I thought it was time to dust off and bring out, my version of:
This is a rosewater spiked, mint enhanced version of regular old, homemade lemonade. When there are no fresh lemons available (or I'm plain lazy), however, I do cheat and just use NIPPY'S TANGY LEMON FRUIT JUICE DRINK.
I have tried a couple of different lemon drinks and Nippy's Tangy is definitely the best of them, for this Lebanese version. Another option has been 'Charlie's Honest Quencher' lemonade, which although pretty good as a drink on it's own, didn't have quite the 'kick' I was after, for this Lebanese version. After speaking to a couple of members of the local Lebanese community, I am assured by one, that Nippy's would be the best for this drink, as it retains the pulp, which is kept in, in the traditional Lebanese drink, when made from scratch in the traditional method.
This drink is just heaven in a glass (for those of us with a taste for citrus, that is) and for the coming warmer months, just the thing. It's easy, looks great, you can cheat, and most people will like this one, especially when it gets really hot here, in downtown Adelaide or elsewhere.
Basically, it is just homemade lemonade (with the pulp) - lemon juice, with sugar added for sweetness, preferably filtered water and ice, with a dash of a good rosewater, stirred through.
I usually do cheat, however and do just buy the Nippy's Tangy Lemon Fruit Juice Drink, which I pour over ice in a glass, on which I've added a dash or about 1/2 teaspoon of a good rosewater or to taste - now, apparently, you can buy this at some Foodlands around Adelaide, the good Lebanese variety, that is, but I note also, that it is imported by Gaganis Bros, so you can probably pick it up at their warehouse too; you can, I guess, purchase the Indian version at an Indian spice store, or you can just buy: Queen's Rosewater Essence, which I've picked up in the baking aisle of some supermarkets.
Do be careful not to be too heavy handed with adding the rosewater, as it's a pretty heady taste and not everyone will appreciate it, if it's overpowering.
I usually just make this drink one glass at a time, however, if you're making it up for a few people who've come round suddenly, it's probably going to be a better idea to make up a jug full. So, same deal as above: put in a couple of handfuls of ice cubes, add rosewater, to taste, pour in some Nippy's or homemade lemonade and if you have enough time before serving, place the jug back in your fridge and serve the finished drink, chilled, with ice and I like to add a mint garnish to it.
A glacé cherry is another nice look; or a slice of lemon dipped in some caster sugar or a little salt, cut through about half way and slipped on to the side of a highball glass.
You know lemonade was mentioned as new in South Australian history in 1836, and lemon juice, abscorbic acid and sugar, not much has changed, i love Charlies when I travel as its pretty strong and pure, but tend to stay away from the more complex formulae as they made be more acid when in fact drinking lemon juice should help reduce acidity, I use a tiny amount of brown sugar and alchemise the juice, chopped mint leaves in boiling water for just a minute before adding water and cooling off in fridge, no one comes close to my lemonade but I do get lazy and buy it. I love making drinks from old recipes and saving a mint on marketing and bottles.
Actually, I had originally included a recipe for lemonade in the original article, but decided finally not to include it.
Here goes for you:
7-8 lemons – preferably the thin skinned ‘lemonade’ variety, as these are the oiliest and best to work with
¾ -1 cup of white sugar – but again, the Lebanese actually drink their lemonade less sweet, so according to taste, probably ½ - ¾ cup of white sugar is fine
NOW, you can either boil up the sugar with 6-8 cups of water – depending on the size of jug you will be using, or how many people you will be serving – on a low to medium heat in a saucepan, until the sugar has dissolved OR you can add just boiled water to the sugar in a jug and stir it until the sugar’s dissolved
When the sugar mixture is dissolved, leave it to cool sufficiently to place the jug in the fridge, meanwhile juicing your lemons
Add the lemon juice, about 1/3 at a time, so you can add it to taste – raising or lowering and therefore adjusting the acidity to your taste
I don’t add ice to the jug, but just put it back into the fridge to cool, until ready to serve. I do add ice to the glasses when I’m serving up though, to which I then add the rose water (‘ Al – Rabih’ is the one I’ve got at the moment and you should be able to get it or another from either a gourmet importer or a Lebanese baker – check your yellow pages directory for this)
If you do want a tangier lemonade, do add the skins of the lemons after you’ve juiced them, to the lemonade mix, as the oils from the lemon skins will still impart their citrus oils BUT TAKE THEM OUT AFTER A WHILE OR THE LEMONADE WILL GET REALLY BITTER FROM THE PITH!
Hope this helps to give you an idea of how to put the Lebanese Lemonade together, from scratch… just another idea, as odd as it sounds, if you can’t get rosewater for any reason – the Indians actually add salt and black pepper to their lemonade and this really brings out the sweetness of the lemons – believe it or not. c&c