Recipe: Lemon Drink for a hot day

This post was going to be called Lemon Drink for Shakira, only then it turned out I had lost my copy of the recipe, but on the bright side, I actually had given it to Shakira already, and she still had it, and so she very kindly emailed it back to me.  So I suppose it is now Lemon Drink from Shakira, though in fact the recipe originally came from my mother-in-law, so it should really be Betty’s Lemon Drink.

Anyway.  The weather is horribly, hideously, obscenely hot today.  And yes, I know I’m a wuss, but anything over 30°C is not weather designed for a happy Catherine.  Riding home from work yesterday was particularly vile – there was a hot, dry, northerly wind blowing me backwards as I rode up the hill after not cycling for a month and suddenly that verse in the Waters of Babylon about the tongue cleaving to the roof of one’s mouth made unpleasantly visceral sense. 

I wish I could say that it was, nonetheless, all worthwhile, because when I got home I had a lovely, cooling glass of this delicious lemon drink waiting for me, but alas, this is not so.  There was no lemon drink, and if there had been, I suspect it would have been wasted on my dehydrated self.

Still.  It would be lovely in this weather to sit down and relax with a cold, not-too-sweet, perfectly lemony drink, and just because I have failed to do so doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t try it…

Your Shopping List

1 cup freshly-squeezed lemon juice (zest the lemons before squeezing them, and freeze the zest for your next lemon cake or biscuit)
1 1/2 cups sugar (caster sugar would be best here)
2 cups of hot water and 4 cups of cold water (strictly speaking, you shouldn’t need to buy this.  Unless you live in Adelaide, in which case for heaven’s sake do not drink what comes out of the tap.  I know I used to like saying that it was an acquired taste, but that was basically teen machismo)

Now what will you do with it?

This is easy.  Put 2 cups of hot water (recently boiled is good) (especially if it is Adelaide water.  Why are you using Adelaide water after I told you not to?  Throw that out right now and go get some from the tank.  And then boil it and filter out the mosquito wrigglies, unless you are looking for added protein.  Right, you may continue.) into a large jug and stir in the sugar until it dissolves.

Add everything else and stir in.  OK, don’t add everything else.  Just the rest of the ingredients on the list would do.  If you added absolutely everything to this, firstly you would need a very large jug, and secondly, you would have a problem because absolutely everything includes your (very large) jug, and how do you put your jug into your jug?  This is all far too confusing to think about in hot weather, so I’d skip the whole question of whether an omnipotent God can create a rock that is too large for him to lift, too.  In fact, leave the philosophy out of it entirely (yet another thing that doesn’t need to go into the jug), and just stir together your lemon juice and cold water with your hot water and sugar, and put the whole lot in the fridge to chill.

Then go off and have a nice cool shower to a) recover from the heat and b) calm the feverish little part of your brain that is now enacting Sophie’s World in three directions at once and also wondering how many angels can dance on the head of a pin.


You really need that drink now, don’t you?  Or maybe even something stronger…


Why mess with perfection?  This drink is, naturally, gluten-free, nut-free and vegan, and it is never going to be low fructose or low GI, so you might as well stop worrying about that and play with flavours instead.  Most citrus fruits would work here, but you’d want to adjust the sugar according to taste, variety and season.  It would be much more fun to put in 100g of puréed raspberries instead, for a pink lemonade that doesn’t make you bounce off the walls, or better still, how about 100g of puréed blueberries for purple lemonade? Now you’re talking…

A dash of rosewater or orange flower water would of course be lovely in this.  I suspect a dash of vodka would also do it no harm, but I don’t really drink, so I can’t be sure.

But do you know what I really want to do with this?  I want to put it in a soda stream!  I mean, how good would that be?  This is entirely the fault of Heston Blumenthal, incidentally, because I was watching one of his shows the other day and he used a soda stream to give sake a champagne-like texture, and I had never seen one before, or even heard of one, and now I want one, oh yes, I wants one, preciousssss…. As I believe I informed Andrew approximately a dozen times during that episode.

But I digress.  You should make this drink, and then you should drink it.  No soda stream or philosophy required.

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12 comments for “Recipe: Lemon Drink for a hot day

  1. January 18, 2012 at 12:00 am

    I was just thinking this would be great if fizzy and then I see your soda stream comment – we had one when I was a kid and it was so cool and I saw one in the shops just recently and really wanted one because I love fizz in my drinks – so tempted!

    • January 18, 2012 at 9:10 am

      I’d never seen one before until the Heston episode! Andrew couldn’t believe it. I’m feeling really, really deprived now – it looks like such a fun toy.

      (I am currently resisting the urge to go online and look for one)

  2. January 18, 2012 at 12:42 pm – we really like ours

    • January 18, 2012 at 12:49 pm

      Oh, like I need people enabling me…! 😉

  3. splodge
    January 19, 2012 at 11:23 pm

    We got a soda stream and were really disappointed, and ended up foisting it on a someone to polite to refuse. It didn’t provide the right sort of fizz. I suggest you sample the results before you buy.

    • January 20, 2012 at 9:21 am

      Ah, that is a concern. I wonder how I could get to sample the results?

  4. Shakira
    January 23, 2012 at 9:08 am

    What goes around, comes around? *grin*

    As far as GI goes, I wonder about making it with Xylitol? It’s probably too pricey to be a regular approach, but the slightly cool mouthfeel of Xylitol would be an interesting thing to play with.

    Particularly if you made and/or served the drink with mint, which I must try when the weather warms up again…

    • January 23, 2012 at 4:55 pm

      Interesting idea. I’ll look into it.

  5. Gillian (Reynardo)
    January 23, 2012 at 4:45 pm

    Ii’m finding it just a trifle too sweet – and that for me is odd enough. Next time I think I’ll just try 1 cup sugar. But then you may make a critique of it tonight.

    • January 23, 2012 at 4:55 pm

      Interesting – I suspect there is an element of variation when it comes to the sweetness / acidity of the lemons themselves. I’ll be interested to try it.

  6. August 26, 2018 at 2:41 pm

    I’ve just discovered your blog and I love it! Was going to say you but didn’t want to creep you out! Lol. I usually just scan the recipe to see if it’s what I’m looking for or an interesting to make and move on, but you write so well I was cracking up reading it and picturing the scene you describe. Love your sense of humour! Thank you so much for a great recipe and much entertainment! I’m from Perth and live in the U.K. But my father was born in Adelaide so I understand all your digs and jokes. Thanks again! Was missing a bit of home.

    • Catherine
      August 26, 2018 at 3:15 pm

      I’m glad you are having fun! We moved to Adelaide when I was twelve, and stayed there for several years – I’m not sure that teenagerhood is the best time in one’s life to bond with a new city. I definitely did not.

      This blog is on long-term hiatus, as you may have gathered, but I’m hoping that one day I will have time and working wrists and can get back to it.

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