This summer in Europe, I had some amazing lemonades at various restaurants in the different cities I visited. There is nothing more refreshing on a hot summer day than a cold glass of lemonade, and some of these establishment really outdid themselves with some amazing flavor combinations — orange and basil, ginger and mint, honey and pine, and elderflower lemonades. The flavors were out of this world! I didn't know I could love lemonade so much, but I did know I had to recreate some of these flavors when I got home.
A very popular drink flavor throughout Europe is elderflower — I don't see it as much in the States. Elderflower comes from the Elder plant also known as Sambucus, which also has a lot of health benefits, including anti-inflammatory properties. Many people in Europe make their own elderflower concentrate, which is basically a thick syrup, that they'll dilute in sparkling mineral water or other drinks for a very refreshing, natural beverage.
Luckily, a relative in Romania makes elderflower syrup, and she gave me a few bottles to bring home. I have been using it as a sugar replacement in different lemonades for a beautiful floral taste and fragrance. After some online searching, I found elderflower syrup on Amazon, if you're interested in trying it for yourself. Click on the images below to shop directly.
I am sharing my version of some of the wonderful lemonades I drank in Europe.This recipe is very versatile and can be changed up easily by adding different fruits or herbs according to your preferences. Add all the citrus into one or pick a couple, change the citrus for various berries, peaches, or combine citrus and berries. The combinations are endless. The quantities are also really up to you — add as much or as little as you'd like so the different flavors stand to your preference. This is just a basic guide, according to my specific tastes.
You will need the following ingredients :
Fresh mint leaves (or basil)
Sparkiling mineral water. I love this and this brand.
(I chose to buy the citrus organic, so they're free of pesticides since I cut the slices directly into the mixture.)
I use a 32 FL. OZ. glass bottle with a lid (to keep the fizz from escaping while the flavors seep and blend). Squeeze 1 lemon, 1 lime, 1 small orange or grapefruit into the bottle. Add 1/4 - 1/2 cup of elderberry syrup (according to your taste), 4 mint leaves, and several slices of various citrus (the more colors, the better). Fill the bottle with sparkling mineral water and cover. Refrigerate for at least 1/2 hour so the flavors can come through. Stir before serving. Enjoy! I'd love to know what flavor combinations you came up with.
The bottles I have linked here work well because they have a large opening to fit the slices of fruit though them. The one with handles is particularly cute, and I may need to order it for myself.