Have you ever been on a college campus during the summer? They have a secret they don’t want the students to know: the food is much better in the summer. Seriously.
I worked on campus the summer before my senior year and was shocked the first day I walked into the student center food court and found a completely different menu. I was quite disappointed when the fall semester rolled around and the fresh salads and sliced steak sandwiches once again became chicken fingers and burgers.
One of the things they served that summer was fresh lemonade with fruit puree – a different fruit every day. The strawberry was my favorite. Even if I wasn’t planning to buy lunch, I’d stop down to make sure I wasn’t missing out on the strawberry lemonade.
This is a dead-ringer for my favorite drink of that summer. I’m not sure there’s anything better.
(slightly adapted from My Baking Addiction)
Makes approximately 6-8 cups
1 c. sugar
1 c. of water
1 pint fresh strawberries
1 c. fresh lemon juice (approximately 8 lemons)
4-6 c. cold water (depending on your taste)
Make a simple syrup by combining the sugar with 1 cup of water in a saucepan. Place over medium heat and heat until the sugar in completely dissolved; swirl the pan occasionally. Let cool.
Once the simple syrup has cooled, puree strawberries in a blender with 1/2 cup water.
In a large pitcher, combine strawberry puree, simple syrup and lemon juice. If using the vodka, add it to the pitcher and stir to combine.
Add 4-6 cups of cold water. The amount of water you use will depend on your taste, so add as little or as much as you want to achieve your perfect sweet/tart balance. Serve over ice.