Best lemonades in the world
We went on holiday in Europe. We enjoyed beautiful scenery, pretty cities, walks in the countryside, excellent wine, unusual (but amazing) pastries, fantastic food, a pleasant capital city to walk around in, atrocious weather, but what stood out for us was the excellent freshly made lemonades we tried at every café and restaurant.
Where did we go you wonder? We went to Hungary. A small country with only 9.5 million people living in it, surrounded by 7 neighbours and previously behind the Iron Curtain.
We did the usual things whilst in Hungary. We visited the bend in the Danube, wondered around the castle in Visegrad in the rain, we tried local wines and cheeses at the circle of the beautiful women, swam in Europe’s largest thermal lake when it was blowing a gale, tried the local schnapps whilst ‘chatting’ with some friendly locals who didn’t speak English, and went bird hunting (with a camera of course) in Orseg NP as well as Hortobagyi Nemzeti National Park.
We were also incredibly lucky we have amazing friends just living around the corner (in Slovenia). They hopped in the car and, for European standards, drove the long drive from Skofje Loka to Lake Balaton to spend a few nights with us. It had been 10 years since we had seen Petra (when we visited them in Slovenia with the white Lara on the big trip), and 5 since our last catch up with Lojze at the airport in Frankfurt for a quick breakfast.
Up until then it had been raining a lot, but when Lojze and Petra arrived it was dry. We went for a walk, checked out the local lavender farm and then took a google shortcut (google sent us up a little 4wd farm track with our 2wd) to one of the local wineries. We wanted to do a wine tasting and we were not disappointed. Johnny entertained us whilst pouring generous tastings of a variety of their wines. Jude tried their white wines (they are famous for their whites) and even liked the sparkling white they had. But the Shira was our favourite.
The weather kept improving. In Budpaest we wandered the streets and admired the historical buildings and the lively atmosphere, we soaked in stunning thermal baths, visited a few of the ‘ruin’ bars, spent an hour in an underground bunker / museum / WW2 hospital, and walked around Margaret Island (the place to be for active locals, with a purpose-built running track and a safe road for cyclists). We also watched many people enjoy an alcoholic beverage whilst wandering the streets. We saw this in other places too. As long as you behave they don’t seem to mind if you carry your glass of wine (with bottle in the other hand) down the street and enjoy sipping whilst admiring the architecture.
All the food and wine we had in Hungary had been really yummy. We loved the garlic soup served in a small loaf of bread, we loved the fact they served a variety of hot chocolates everywhere (including dark chocolate). And with the wintery weather we sure were having our fair share of hot chocolates! We tried the local dishes like goulash and paprikash, but also some random dinners in small local restaurants. We had amazing fish dishes and they even turned shakshuka into a dinner dish (it reminded us of our first time eating this in Lake Nakuru NP in Kenya, prepared by Hafiz – still the tastiest ever).
But what really surprised us was that all restaurants and cafes served a variety of lemonades. Beautiful fresh, homemade goodness in a glass. In every café you can always buy the ‘basic’ one (made with lemons of course). But they are also tarted up and posh-ified, and in most places there are at least least 3 or more other flavours available.
There were the standard variations like lemon and ginger, but we also saw more interesting ones like ginger-turmeric, or rose-hibiscus. But there was also grapefruit-apple, vanilla-cucumber, raspberry-lavender, mango-lemon, lemongrass-vanilla (with tonic), passionfruit-macademia, strawberry-basil, orange-peanut, and peony-pomegranate to give you an idea. It has definitely inspired us to be more creative for summer drinks. We’ll leave you with the basic lemonade recipe, and three others (we loved them), enjoy!
PS Remember, if you must add a straw, make sure it is an environmentally friendly one.
- 3/4 cup of sugar
- 1 cup water (to make the syrup)
- 1 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice (4-6 lemons)
- 2 to 3 cups of water to dilute
- Make the cordial (put the sugar and water together and heat up, stir until sugar is dissolved)
- Pour the cordial and the fresh lemon juice into a big jug
- Add 2 or 3 cups of water (to taste) and mix (If it is too sweet, add some more lemon juice to it)
- Refrigerate for 40 minutes
- Serve with ice and sliced lemons
Or try the overnight option of making the syrup
- Peel all the required lemons
- Place in a bowl with the sugar and leave overnight
- Boil water and add the peels with the sugar into the water, stir and let it sit for a few minutes
- Strain and discard the lemon peels
- This adds some of the natural oils from the lemon skin to your lemonade
- 2 cups of raspberries (fresh or frozen)
- 1 cup of sugar
- 1 cup of water
Combine all above ingredients in a pot, heat up and simmer for 5-10 minutes until the sugar is dissolved and the raspberries are all broken up. Use a strainer if you don’t like the seeds in the syrup. This makes about 1 and 3/4 cup of raspberry cordial
- 1 and 1/2 cup of fresh lemon juice (7-9 lemons)
- 3-4 cups of ice
- 3 cups of soda water (or sparking water)
Add the raspberry syrup and the lemon juice into a big jug (if you are making it in advance refrigerate this mixture and add the rest just before serving). Add the ice and soda water (or sparkling water if you prefer). Taste and add more sweetener if it needs it
Garnish with raspberries, fresh mint leaves, lemon slices.
This will last 3-4 days in the fridge if you have any leftover (probably never!)
- 6 cups of water
- 2 teaspoons ground turmeric (or 4cm piece of turmeric – peeled and sliced)
- 1 tablespoon of fresh ginger – peeled and thinly sliced (or 1 teaspoon of ground ginger)
- 1/8 teaspoon of freshly ground black pepper
- 2 tablespoons of honey
- 1/3 cup of lemon juice
- Fresh lemon slices and fresh mint leaves for garnishing
- Add the water, turmeric, ginger and black pepper to a big pot
- Simmer for 15 minutes
- Strain the liquid through a fine-mesh sieve
- Stir in the honey whilst the liquid is still hot
- Let the liquid cool for about 15 minutes
- Add the lemon juice
Pour into glasses and garnish with lemon slices and mint leaves – enjoy
Combine fresh grapefruit juice, fresh lemon juice and fresh cloudy apple juice. Use as a cordial and mix with soda water. Add a slice of apple and some mint leaves and serve in a large glass with some ice.