Tarter, greener … and surprisingly refreshing. For a fun variation on lemonade, try limeade instead.
Limeade is a great alternative to lemonade, and in fact, it's far more popular than lemonade in portions of India and Asia. With a completely unique taste all its own, limeade is a fantastic drink that can help cool you down on a hot summer day. But why buy pre-made limeade mix when you could just as easily make your own? After all, it's quick, easy and completely customizable.
Picking Your Limes
Citrus fruits are generally fairly hearty and consistent, but that doesn't mean that there still aren't some rules to picking the best of the bunch. When picking limes, they should have a tight flesh, be a bright green color and be free from any brown discoloration. When you pick up a lime, make sure it feels heavy for its size. Limes that are inexplicably light often are older, drier fruits.
Juicing Your Limes
Juicing limes can be done one of several ways. Sure, you could go out of your way to buy a juicer if you plan on making fresh juice on a regular basis, but if you're like the rest of us who don't want to clutter our kitchens, here's how you can put the squeeze on your citrus fruits.
Pop your limes into the microwave, two or three at a time, for about 20 seconds. This short burst of heat helps loosen the juice from the pulp and makes it easier to squeeze.
Before cutting a lime, roll it firmly across your kitchen counter, using the palm of your hand to apply even pressure. This helps to break some of the small sacks that contain the juice and get it flowing before you even begin to squeeze.
Now slice the lime and squeeze it firmly two or three times over a bowl or measuring cup. Then, take a fork and press it firmly down into the pulp of the fruit. This helps to juice it further. Waste not, want not.
Sugar & Sugar Alternatives
Because limeade is made cold, using table sugar is hardly ideal. Sugar doesn't dissolve easily in cold liquids. However, by melting a cup of sugar in a cup of water, you create a simple syrup, which can easily be added to the lime juice to sweeten it up.
Of course, there's always the alternative of using a light agave syrup. Agave syrup is made from the same plant that is responsible for bringing us tequila. It's mild flavor plays well with limes and it dissolves well in cold liquids.
Wet & Wild
Don't forget that when you add water, make sure it's water you'd like to drink. If your tap water tastes like the local pool, you're going to want to use bottled or filtered water. This goes for any ice you may use as well.
For an alternative to water, you can use lemon-lime soda. Just skip the sugar, or you'll have lime syrup on your hands instead.
If you want the bubbles but you don't want to use soda, substitute carbonated water. You can even use the flavored variety for an extra kick. My personal favorite? Black cherry limeade.
While a limeade is refreshing all on its own, sometime a combo can really kick it up a notch. Take a look a these fruity pairings:
What's your favorite drink "ade?"