12 Frugal New Twists on Classic Lemonade

By Marla Walters on 30 June 2016 0 comments

I have a photo of myself, at age seven, sitting behind a lemonade stand on our front lawn. I was selling a cup for a nickel. It seems like my parents should have told me to raise the price, but maybe my lemonade-making skills weren't that great, yet.

Lemonade's popularity hasn't waned since my childhood. In fact, we're in the middle of a lemonade renaissance. Creative people have taken a delicious, refreshing drink, and made it better. Here are 12 frugal fix-ups for your favorite summer beverage. (See also: 8 Frugal and Refreshing Popsicles to Make This Summer)

Basic Lemonade

Personally, I think the best lemonade is made with a simple syrup. The syrup eliminates trying to dissolve sugar into your water, and you won't get a grainy texture, or sludge on the bottom of your pitcher.

1. Berry Delicious

Frozen berries — especially raspberries, blueberries, or blackberries — make great "ice cubes" and, when thawed, give a great flavor and an extra treat in a glass of lemonade. Watch for frozen berries to go on sale, as they are often cheaper than fresh.

2. Add a Puree

Don't waste that leftover fruit! Puree a cup of fruit with a tablespoon of water, strain out solids, and add to lemonade for a new taste sensation. Fruits that work particularly well are peaches, watermelon, nectarines, blackberries, and raspberries.

3. Half-and-Half

Substitute some limes for lemons in the recipe above for an even tangier lemonade. For grown-ups, add a shot of vodka or tequila and hit the porch swing.

4. Jam Time

You know that last spoonful of jam or jelly in the jar? Stir it into a glass of lemonade for a little extra pizzazz. You won't be wasting food, and you'll free up space in your fridge!

5. Herbaceous

Toss in a sprig of rosemary or thyme into your glass, or a few mint or basil leaves. Rather than spend money on herbs at the grocery store, start a kitchen herb garden and experiment with flavors.

6. Get a Brazilian

Err lemonade, that is. The goofy thing about this "lemonade" is that it is made with limes. Once you make this, you'll be hooked so watch for sweetened, condensed milk to go on sale. The best prices I have found for it are at big-box stores. Try it with graham crackers and it'll taste just like key lime pie.

7. Coconut-Lavender Lemonade

This is the prettiest lemonade ever. And freeze any leftovers into ice cubes. Coconut water is pricey, so if you live where you can get your hands on fresh coconut, try making your own.

8. Carrot Lemonade

Don't you love carrot juice? Plus, how about getting a little extra vitamins A and C added to your lemonade? This will keep for up to a week in your refrigerator. Buy carrots in bulk — not the baby carrots — to keep this drink on the cheap.

9. Sugar Substitute

I have recently started experimenting with agave nectar, and while I find it to be extremely sweet, it does work in a lemonade like this one. I'd advise starting with a quarter cup, and then taste. You can always add more. This fancy lemonade recipe is particularly nice because it also contains freshly grated ginger. It's a nice drink when you need to replace fluids or have an upset stomach.

10. Spa Treatment

I'm a little tired of cucumbers in water, but in lemonade? Yes, please! Now all I need's a pedicure while I sip one of these cucumber lemonades. Ahhhh.

11. Cran-Lemonade

Add cranberry juice to your lemonade for a pretty drink. I like mine with a ratio of ⅔ lemonade to ⅓ cranberry juice.

12. Green-ade

I dug out my tin of matcha tea powder for this one. Be careful, as it contains caffeine. On hot days, this is nice to sip at the office instead of your a.m. coffee.

Any other yummy frugal lemonade twists? Share with us!

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