Editor’s note: In our new column, Kitchen Curious, we roll up our sleeves to take on cooking projects, compare culinary gadgets and experiment with food science. If you’ve ever found yourself saying, “I’m messing in the kitchen,” this is the column for you.
Here in the South, it’s easy to find a quality glass of mouth-puckering, fresh-squeezed lemonade. Perhaps we do it better than other regions around the country, but circle the globe, and you’ll find numerous refreshing glasses filled with the flavors of chilled citrus.
In her new book “Lemonade With Zest” (Chronicle Books, $16.95), author April White explores the many sides of lemonade. True, lemonade isn’t complicated. It’s just lemon, sugar and water. But, as White points out, each of those ingredients requires a decision. Which lemon? Which sweetener? Which water? They all make a difference.
There are ways for lemonade devotees to go further, to add new dimension and nuance to the classic drink. Combine coffee with tart lemon juice to mimic the mazagran of Algeria and Portugal. Swap lemons for limes and add coconut milk for a frothy Colombian limonada de coco. Blend in an egg white for a foamy head, Argentinian-style.
Things heat up when you make a Persian sharbat by boiling sugar with lemon juice and green cardamom pods. The beauty of this brightly colored syrup with spicy, herbal notes is that you can stash the thick, sweet stuff in the fridge, adding a few tablespoons each time thirst strikes.
If you’re looking for ways to impress the poolside crowd, these alt-lemonade sippers will please kids of all ages.
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