Monday, July 18, 2011

Diane's Homemade Muskoka Lemonade

Fresh homemade lemonade is such a simple and refreshing summertime treat, I wonder why I've never tried it before. My good friend Diane made it this weekend and I was surprised how easy and delicious it was to prepare. All you need is a handful of fresh lemons, some sugar, water and a lovely pitcher. Begin with preparing a simple syrup made with equal parts sugar and water and cook briefly in a saucepan over medium heat. Then add the lemon juice and chill until required. For an extra kick, you could add some Gin and make a classic Tom Collins cocktail, an old favourite from years gone by.

Tom Collins, as the story goes, was an all round mischief maker, who was known to sit in bars and talk wickedly of everyone he'd met. This led to everyone going looking for Tom Collins, but he was no where to be found. The reason was of course, Tom Collins did not exist. 
The prank came to be known as The Great Tom Collins Hoax of 1874. A couple of years later, a new drink was named after the hoax, so those desperately looking for their revenge would walk into a bar, asking for Tom Collins, and instead receive the sour cocktail! A long story, but a delightful drink — perfect on these long summer nights.

Diane's Muskoka Lemonade
Serves 6 

1 cup white sugar
1 cup water
1 cup lemon juice (about 4-6 lemons)
3-4 cups cold water (to dilute)

Make a simple syrup by heating the sugar and water in a small saucepan until the sugar is completely dissolved. While the sugar is dissolving, use a juicer to extract the juice from 4-6 lemons, enough for one cup of juice. Add the juice and sugar water to a pitcher. Add 3-4 cups of cold water, more or less, to the desired strength. Refrigerate 30-40 minutes. If the lemonade is too sweet for your taste, add a little more straight lemon juice to it. Serve with ice and sliced lemons.

Tom Collins
Serves 1

1 1/2 oz gin
1 oz lemon juice
1/2 oz sugar syrup
club soda
maraschino cherry for garnish (optional)
lemon slice for garnish

Pour the gin, lemon juice, and sugar syrup in a collins glass with ice cubes. Stir and top with club soda. Sometimes a mixing tin is placed on the glass and the mix is given a quick shake prior to adding the soda. Garnish with a cherry and lemon slice.