Monday, June 17, 2013

burnt sugar lemonade.

As promised, my favorite lemonade flavor as of yet. I had this a couple of weeks ago at James's favorite coffee shop. We tend to stop in as we walk to church on Sunday afternoons, and I usually don't get anything because I can't drink coffee without consequences. (We once walked from 45th in the U-District to Greenlake because I was so hyped up on caffeine. I get rather manic.) Milstead is one of those places that has serious coffee, and not much else. But it's the long hoped-for start of summer around here, and one of Milstead's summer offerings is burnt sugar lemonade. Here's my take on it. 

1 cup fresh lemon juice (about 4-5 lemons)
large strips of peel from 2-3 lemons, with little to no pith
1 c. sugar
1 c. water, plus 2 cups

Make a dry sugar caramel¹ by melting 1/2 c. sugar in a small saucepan on medium heat, till all the sugar is melted and brown like an old copper penny. Pour in 1 c. warm water and the remaining 1/2 c. sugar. The caramel will likely seize, but turn down the heat and let it simmer, and both the caramel and the granulated sugar will dissolve into the water. While simmering the simple syrup to finish dissolving the caramel, add in the lemon peel to increase the citrus flavor. After about 5 minutes, remove the lemon peel from the syrup and let the syrup cool. Pour the cooled syrup into a pitcher with the lemon juice and enough water to dilute, about 2 cups. 

For an alternate way to making this lemonade, try The Family Feed's version here. She uses a hardened caramel as a mix-in to get the burnt sugar flavor.
¹David Lebovitz has a wonderful post on caramels and specifically on how to make a dry caramel. This method is the easiest to me.


  1. I was in Seattle in July and had the burnt sugar lemonade from Milstead and have been dreaming of it ever since (it was so good I bought one, took a sip, and immediately ordered another one for the road). I googled burnt sugar lemonade hoping to find a recipe that would be kind of like that one and I'm so glad I stumbled on this website! I didn't really expect to find a post about the exact lemonade I was thinking of, and I'm so excited to try it! Thanks for posting this!

    1. You're welcome! So glad you enjoyed it at Milstead & hopefully, at home, too. Let me know how it works out or if you have any trouble. (I mostly made up the recipe, so I wrote what worked for me.)