Vanilla Bean Lemonade
Summertime is my favorite time to drink fun drinks. Something about the hot weather makes fruity drinks that much more enjoyable. We typically drink water, cold brew coffee and wine/beer/cocktails. Sodas are rare in our house, but occasionally I want something other than water to drink. This lemonade is perfect for summer, and it’s going to have a permanent spot in our fridge for the foreseeable future.
When we were in Charleston last year, Eric and I ate at this adorable little place inside, of all places, a laundromat. They had a vanilla bean lemonade sitting in a beverage dispenser on the counter. I love lemon and vanilla together, so the pairing enticed me before I even took a sip of the drink. When I did, it was hard not to drink all of it at once. I’ve been dreaming of recreating that lemonade ever since, and now I finally have.
I served this lemonade at a wedding shower last weekend, and it all but disappeared (and that was with a double recipe). This is going to be my go-to party drink for summer, along with my favorites from previous summers – blackberry limeade and sparkling strawberry lemonade.
¾ cup sugar (up to ¼ cup more for additional sweetness)
1 cup water
1 vanilla bean
1 cup lemon juice
4 cups cold water, sparkling if you want it fizzy
Combine the sugar and 1 cup of water in a small saucepan. Halve the vanilla bean lengthwise, and scrape out the seeds. Place the seeds and pod into the liquid. Heat over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally, until the sugar has dissolved and the liquid begins to boil. Remove from heat and set aside to cool.
When the simple syrup has cooled, combine it and the lemon juice together in a large pitcher. Dilute with water. Using sparkling water will result in a drink with a hint of fizz. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes, then pour over ice and enjoy!