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.