MAKE A LEMONADE STATION FOR EASY ENTERTAINING

Think old-school lemonade stand meets fun, fabulous mix-ins to create a new spin on that old summer standard. Lemonade is a great drink for summer parties. Whether you make it fresh, buy it at the store, or use a powdered mix, it's hard to go wrong with cold lemonade on a hot day. Here are some of my fun ideas to dress up your lemonade by making a lemonade station- an adult version of the old-school lemonade stand- perfect for any party,  wedding, rehearsal dinner, or supper club!

 Creating a lemonade station will give your guests lots of choices and allow them to serve themselves making beverage service a lot easier!

Creating a lemonade station will give your guests lots of choices and allow them to serve themselves making beverage service a lot easier!

Making a lemonade stand doesn't require a lot of wood and building, a simple table will work. Recently, I wanted to show Daytime Alabama viewers how to make a lemonade stand for a large party or wedding and asked my friends Corey & Jared from the Sonnet House to help me out. Corey decked out the table and I did the lemonades. Burlap from the fabric store, Mason jars, and large containers of lemonade, cute paper straws, and a big sign are all you need

 At The Sonnet House in Leeds, Alabama with my good friends Jared and Corey. Corey created the lovely table with tulips, lemons, and yellow and white chevron runners and I made the lemonade!

At The Sonnet House in Leeds, Alabama with my good friends Jared and Corey. Corey created the lovely table with tulips, lemons, and yellow and white chevron runners and I made the lemonade!

THE HOW-TO

Start with large containers or pitchers of lemonade. Add bowls of your favorite flavors: think spices, fruit, herbs, liquor, or even Kool-Aid mixes for the kids. Be creative. Almost anything tastes good with lemonade as the base!

When I am in a hurry or on the road without a kitchen, I buy pre-made lemonade from the store.Simply Lemonade is the best if I have to buy at a grocery. If I am in the South, I often get the  Chic-fil-A gallon lemonade to go. Expensive but worth it. Those are my favorites if I cannot make my own. If you use the CountryTime or other powdered mix, add the juice of two lemons and lots of lemon slices into it; makes it taste better. I always prefer the fresh lemonade when time, budget, and location allow :) 

I like to put out a little menu board to give guests some ideas of flavors that work well together. I write them on a chalkboard but you can write or print recipes.

Basic lemonade recipe Martie Duncan

BASIC LEMONADE RECIPE

 It's really simple. Four cups of water to one cup fresh squeezed lemon juice plus 1/2 cup of sugar. That's it!

To make enough for 4-5 servings:

2 cups fresh squeezed lemon juice

1 cup sugar (more to taste if you like it really sweet)

7-8 cups water

In a pitcher, add the sugar and the lemon juice and stir well to dissolve the sugar. Add the water and chill.

Serving Tips:On a hot day, I will use 1 cup less water because I know the lemonade will become diluted with the melting ice. Often, I will freeze lemonade into ice cubes or freeze large plastic containers of lemonade. I put the lemonade into a large plastic milk jug or other repurposed plastic bottle. Freeze solid. A few hours before the party, I remove them from the freezer and allow them to become slushy. Soooo good on a hot day!

MIX-INS AND OPTIONS FOR A LEMONADE STATION

Mint leaves

Basil leaves

Strawberries, sliced plus strawberry puree

Raspberries

Watermelon slices plus watermelon puree

Peach slices plus peach nectar (find it in a can in the international aisle of the store)

Lime wheels

Lemon wheels

Sweet Tea

Grenadine

Vodka - I usually include a plain vodka and one flavored, like citrus or raspberry flavored

Chambord Liqueur

Bourbon

Pama Liqueur

VARIATIONS ON THE CLASSIC LEMONADE RECIPE:

PINK LEMONADE

Perfect for kids and adults, too!

Add a tablespoon of Grenadine to the basic recipe. Stir well to color your lemonade bright pink. If you want a soft pink color, for a baby shower, for example, use less grenadine.

ARNOLD PALMER

Half iced tea, half lemonade.

ARNOLD PALMER WITH SPIKES

Add a shot of vodka (I use citrus flavored) to your Arnold Palmer.

CHERRY LEMONADE

Add 1 ounce cherry vodka, 3 maraschino cherries and a 1 teaspoon cherry juice to each glass of lemonade. Add a squeeze of lime.

PEACH TEA LEMONADE

1/3 each peach nectar, sweet tea, and classic lemonade per serving.

MINT INFUSED LEMONADE

Add a big handful of fresh mint leaves to the sugar and one cup of the water. Make a mint simple syrup. Equal parts sugar and water. Bring to a boil. Remove from heat. Stir until the sugar dissolves. Add 25 or so fresh mint leaves. Allow to cool completely. Strain the syrup into a mason jar, discard the leaves. Add to your pitcher and add the lemon juice and the remaining water.  

POMEGRANATE LEMONADE

Add a shot of Pama Liqueur. Yummmmy!

KENTUCKY LEMONADE

Put  4 fresh mint leaves into the bottom of the glass. Add a little ice. Use a wooden spoon to bruise the mint with the ice. Add 1 1/2 ounces Kentucky bourbon and fill the glass with lemonade. My Kentucky bourbon of choice right now is Four Roses. Their Yellow Label is perfect for this drink... side note, the single barrel is really good on it's own.