To achieve pucker-worthy pink lemonade, you have to break the rules

·2 min read
Colorized 1940s photo of little boys at lemonade stand
Colorized 1940s photo of little boys at lemonade stand

I’ve always been a rule-follower. It’s my most boring quality. I’m an eldest child with a pronounced fear of authority and a passion for efficiency, which makes me very good at assembling furniture and avoiding speeding tickets—but not so good at letting my hair down. I don’t know why I’m like this, but I think my cautious nature has something to do with the fact that I was raised by a massive troublemaker.

My mom hates rules. The lady is a total wild card. She’s also impatient as hell, which means she drives too fast, cusses constantly, and approaches cooking with a certain “bat out of hell” attitude. Sometimes this spells disaster (undercooked pork loin that tastes like a foot), but sometimes it results in genius hacks that I still use. Today’s example: the magic of using less water in your Minute Maid Frozen Pink Lemonade Concentrate.

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What is frozen pink lemonade concentrate? It is, quite simply, a sugar-crazed kid’s manic dream. It’s a cylinder of hot pink sludge that comes in a frozen tube, and it’s way tangier than your standard yellow lemonade stand fare. I’ve definitely scooped it straight out of the container with a spoon, but you’re supposed to mix it with water in a big pitcher. This is where we break the rules.

The guidelines on the lemonade concentrate package recommend mixing one can of concentrate with 52 ounces of water. (The can itself serves as a convenient measuring cup; you’re advised to use about 4⅓ cans of water.) But somewhere along the way, my mom reduced the water, using about 3½ cans to increase the concentration of the lemonade and boost the beverage’s overall tang.

This was a genius, frankly hedonistic move, and I highly recommend it. Honestly, you can use however much water you want—just taste the lemonade midway through mixing and stop when you’re happy with the flavor.

Is this a life-changing hack? Not necessarily. It takes half a second, and it might be obvious to some. But consider this your reminder that you don’t always have to follow the rules. You can ignore the instructions on a can of frozen lemonade concentrate. You can spew a string of cusses if it feels good. You can blare The Gap Band at a stoplight in rural Missouri. (Looking at you, Mom.) Just live a little.