Thyme for Vodka Lemonade

I am taking next week off for a little R&R but wanted to leave you all with some great ideas for the 4th of July.  We usually go see the Nationals play in the morning and then have people over to grill and relax until the fireworks start.  An informal BBQ like that will be just fine with a cooler of beer and some chilled wine but I always like to have a signature drink as well.  Pitcher drinks are a girl’s best friend in the summer.  Even better if the recipe makes two pitchers!  This spiked lemonade is perfect for the 4th when you have lots of people coming and going.  Also feel free to omit the vodka so it’s good for all ages (or do an adult friendly and a kid friendly pitcher.)

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I love lemonade – really anything made with lemons – but sometimes it can be a little cloying.  The addition of thyme adds a nice herbaceous note that compliments the fresh (yes fresh!) lemon juice perfectly.  I make a thyme simple syrup to infuse the whole drink with the thyme flavor but also have some extra fresh thyme on hand to garnish the drinks.  Simple syrup rather than straight sugar ensures that the lemonade mixes together perfectly – just make sure to use really cold water and a decent vodka.  After juicing all those lemons it would be a shame to use crappy vodka.  I used a new favorite from a local DC distiller, District Made Vodka from One Eight Distilling.  Right in our neighborhood, this distillery takes its vodka making seriously by using a special Russian technique to get a nice smooth finish.  Check back in on Thursday for a whole menu ideal for a 4th of July BBQ to pair with this drink.

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Thyme Vodka Lemonade (printable version at the end of the post)

Inspiration:  Summer BBQ’s
Special Equipment:  juicer (optional)

  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups water
  • 1 bunch thyme (extra for garnish)
  • 2 cups fresh lemon juice
  • 3 cups ice cold water
  • 3 cups vodka

In a saucepan combine the sugar and 1 1/2 cups water over medium high heat.  Stir occasionally until all the sugar has dissolved, usually a couple of minutes.  Turn off the heat and add the thyme.  Let the syrup steep for 10 minutes, then remove the thyme and place in the fridge to cool.

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While the simple syrup is cooling you can juice the lemons – make sure to use fresh juice.  In two pitchers or 1 large drink dispenser combine the chilled syrup, the lemon juice, 3 cups of cold water and 3 cups of vodka.  Stir to combine.  The lemonade can be made earlier in the day and stored in the fridge – serve over ice.

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Thyme Vodka Lemonade

  • Servings: 2 pitchers
  • Time: 15 minutes (plus lots of juicing time
  • Print

Special Equipment:  juicer (optional)

  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups water
  • 1 bunch thyme (extra for garnish)
  • 2 cups fresh lemon juice
  • 3 cups ice cold water
  • 3 cups vodka

In a saucepan combine the sugar and 1 1/2 cups water over medium high heat.  Stir occasionally until all the sugar has dissolved, usually a couple of minutes.  Turn off the heat and add the thyme.  Let the syrup steep for 10 minutes, then remove the thyme and place in the fridge to cool.

While the simple syrup is cooling you can juice the lemons – make sure to use fresh juice.  In two pitchers or 1 large drink dispenser combine the chilled syrup, the lemon juice, 3 cups of cold water and 3 cups of vodka.  Stir to combine.  The lemonade can be made earlier in the day and stored in the fridge – serve over ice.

 

 

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