I love lemonade in the summer... but about 4th of July, I'm ready for something a little different. Here's a delicious spin on your everyday lemonade... by adding raspberries and vanilla bean, you take it to a whole new level. I would not waste this lemonade on the kids. Vanilla beans and raspberries are kinda expensive and they won't know the difference. Save this recipe for your office party, a wedding, girls night, or book club party. Add some raspberry vodka or Chambord liqueur and this lemonade could be on the menu in any top restaurant.
RASPBERRY VANILLA LEMONADE
Makes about two quarts but it depends on how strong you want the lemonade to be- you can stretch it to a gallon by adding more water. I like it strong because it is always diluted when you add ice.
2 pints fresh raspberries
2 cups fresh squeezed lemon juice
2 cups sugar
2 cups water
1 vanilla bean
2 quarts cold water*
* add the water to your taste. More if you like it weak, less water if you like it strong. I used about 1 quart water and then added a splash of chilled club soda at serving time to make it a bit fizzy.
Chilled club Soda
First, make the simply syrup. Put the sugar and water (equal parts) in a pan and bring to a boil, stirring occasionally. Turn off the heat. Split the vanilla bean down the middle, do not cut it all the way through. Use the tip of your knife to remove the tiny brown seeds inside the vanilla bean. Scrape those into the pan and put the entire pod into the pot and allow to cool completely. I usually put this into a canning jar and store it in the fridge. I leave the vanilla bean in the jar but remove it before using.
For the lemonade: Put one pint of raspberries and the Chambord (if using) into the bottom of the pitcher. Let the berries soak up the Chambord for a while. Use a wooden spoon and mash them to get as much juice as you can out of them. I actually whirred them up with my immersion blender to puree them but you can do it either way. Add the lemon juice and stir together. Add half of the vanilla simple syrup. Stir. Taste. Add the water to your taste. I used about 1 quart cold water and added more of the simple syrup to my taste. But I happen to like it a bit sweet and really strong. Add the remaining raspberries.
If you are adding alcohol, reduce the amount of water to 2 cup. Add 2 cups raspberry vodka. At this point, I sometimes like to put it into the freezer for a few hours and get it slushy. I add one or two bottles of chilled club soda at serving time. If it is a hot day and the temperature requires lots of ice, I always make the lemonade strong without a lot of extra water because as the ice melts, it waters down the lemonade. Just something to think about.