This, my friends, is what I call both interesting and delicious lemonade. In my last post I talked about making a mixed currant syrup for a salad vinaigrette. Well, I also used the syrup to make this beautiful and refreshing lemonade. Currants have a tart and intense flavor, but when broken down with sugar to make a syrup (or jam), it is sheer culinary delight.
The addition of currant syrup alone already increased this lemonade’s interesting factor, but then I decided to throw in another twist—a splash of rosewater to finish. Subtle, simple, classic and elegant, words that came to mind as I sipped.
It may seem like there’s a lot going on with the addition of rose water, but I’ve got to tell you, this lemonade is just delightful, and it’s really easy to put together. If you’re having trouble finding fresh currants at your local markets, but would like something similar, try using strawberries or raspberries. The flavor (and that je ne sais quoi quality) won’t be exactly the same, but your lemonade will still be refreshing and delicious. But don’t give up on the currants, I was still able to spot some at a farmers market earlier this week and snatched up a few pints. Unique, fun to work with, and just so pretty, I couldn’t resist! 🙂
If you are lucky enough to find currants, the syrup can also be mixed with sparkling water for simple spritzers; use it to make sorbet; drizzle some syrup over fresh summer fruit, yogurt or pancakes. It’s been nice having currant syrup and jam on hand as I’ve been experimenting with it in a variety of ways. Have fun experimenting and let me know if you come up with anything interesting!
Currant and Rosewater Lemonade
5-6 cups water or more, divided
1/2-1 cup sugar
3/4 – 1 cup fresh lemon juice
2 tablespoons – 1/4 cup currant syrup (recipe below)
rosewater, to taste
dried and crushed rose petals, optional
currants, for garnish, optional
First make a simple syrup. Heating water and sugar together allows all the sugar to dissolve first. In a small saucepan, combine sugar and 1 cup of water and bring to simmer. Stir to dissolve sugar then remove from heat. Allow to cool to room temperature.
Pour the lemon juice and the simple syrup into a pitcher. Add 4 or more cups of cold water and taste. This is where it becomes a matter of personal preference. As you taste, add more water or lemon juice if you’d like. However, note that when you add ice, it will eventually melt and further dilute your pitcher of lemonade. Add currant syrup and stir. Then add just a tiny splash of rosewater. Note, with rosewater a little goes a long way. As its flavor can be quite dominant, start by adding just a little bit at a time, until it reaches your liking.
Optional garnish: Add fresh currants and rose petals.
Finally, feel free to use sparkling water if you want a bit of bubbly lemonade.
Mixed Currant Syrup
2 cups currants (I used a mix of red, white and pink, but use only red if that’s all you can find)
1 cup sugar
about 3/4 cup water
Rinse the currants and put them in a large pot, stems and all. Add sugar and water and bring to a boil. Cook until currants have softened and are wilted, about 2 minutes. Remove from heat and gently press any unbroken berries against the side of the pot using the back of a spoon. Allow the berries to steep for 15-20 minutes. Use a fine mesh sieve to strain out stems and seeds. Allow to cool and use as desired.