Ingredient of the day: Lemons.

The perfect Fourth of July barbecue is complete with a hot grill, cold drinks, good friends, close family, and the underlying fear of your roof catching on fire. As the sun sets on the giant South Texas mosquitoes, cool your guests off with a pitcher of fresh squeezed strawberry lemonade. It’s not only refreshing, it’s simple to make in large quantities, should you be forced to use a glass to extinguish flaming monkey grass in a sparkler-gone-awry situation. If you’re looking to get a little more patriotic for the holiday, try skewering fresh blueberries to use as a swizzle stick in each glass. You can also spike this recipe with 1 cup vodka. Thank you to My Baking Addiction for this recipe inspiration.

Homemade Strawberry Lemonade

1 cup sugar

1 cup water

1 cup strawberries

1 cup lemon juice (4-8 lemons depending on how large)

4-6 cups cold water (depending on how sweet or tart you prefer)

1 cup vodka (optional)

Slices of lemon and/or fresh mint as a garnish for glasses

1. Make a simple syrup by combining the sugar with 1 cup water in a saucepan. Place over medium heat until the sugar is completely dissolved; swirl the pan occasionally. 

2. Chop fresh strawberries coarsely into various sized pieces. As soon as the sugar is dissolved, add strawberries to simple syrup in pan, and stir. You’re creating a pink, strawberry syrup with fresh strawberry pieces. Reduce heat to low. 

3. Add lemon juice, stir. Remove from heat and pour into a pitcher. 

4. Add cold water and optional vodka. Refrigerate. Serve over ice, with slices of lemon. 

5. You can also get crazy and add a couple sprigs of fresh mint. 

Photo by Dustin Ashcraft.

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