Carson Downing (Limeade), photo by Christin Rose/Magnolia Journal (Joanna Gaines)
Well, that escalated quickly. And by "that," in this case, I mean the temperature. Last week, the weather in my neck of the woods was hovering in the low 50s and rainy. And today, it's a humid 90 degrees. Summer has arrived, which I adore, but I know that not everyone enjoys the toasty temps quite as much as I do.
It's pretty tough to deny the appeal of a sunny patio when you have an icy, sweet-tart drink in hand, however! So when I'm hosting pals later this week, I'm planning to stir together a big batch of a Joanna Gaines recipe I just discovered in the latest issue of her magazine, Magnolia Journal.
Much like her Watermelon-Mint Lemonade we had on repeat during the summer of 2020, this DIY drink calls for just a few ingredients yet delivers a lot of flavor.
To make Joanna Gaines' Fresh Limeade recipe, in a 2-quart pitcher, mix equal parts fresh-squeezed lime juice and simple syrup. (Simple syrup is just a 1-to-1 mixture of water and sugar boiled down into a sweet syrup. Alternatively, you can use honey: add half as much honey as the simple syrup called for in the recipe to start, then give it a taste and add more until you've reached your desired level of sweetness.)
Then all that's left to do is top things off with lime, lemon or lemon-lime sparkling water to add a zero-sugar sparkly element to the drink. Serve in glasses with ice, and garnish with limes.
"Once you have the base limeade recipe, it's all about adding more flavors you love," Gaines says in the issue.
And, wow, do her customization ideas sound incredible! My plan is to set out little recipe cards with the following instructions so each pal can BYOG (build your own glass), then create a buffet of mix-ins and garnishes.
Cherry: Stir 2 tablespoons bottled tart cherry juice into 1 cup limeade; rim glass with sugar and lime zest and garnish with cherries.
Chile: Add 2-3 slices of fresh jalapeño or serrano pepper to a glass and muddle gently; stir in 1 cup limeade. Rim glass with Tajín chile-lime seasoning and garnish with jalapeño slices.
Raspberry-Peach: Add ½ cup fresh peach slices and ¼ cup fresh raspberries to a glass and muddle gently. Stir in 1 small fresh thyme sprig and 1 cup limeade; garnish with fresh raspberries and a thyme sprig.
Blackberry-Mint: Add ½ cup fresh blackberries and 1-2 sprigs fresh mint to a glass and muddle gently; stir in 1 cup limeade. Garnish with fresh blackberries and mint.
Coconut: Stir together 2 tablespoons cream of coconut, 2 tablespoons unsweetened pineapple juice and ¾ cup limeade. Rim glass with coconut and garnish with a fresh pineapple wedge.
Strawberry-Cucumber: Add 3 fresh strawberries and 3 thick cucumber slices to a glass and muddle gently; stir in 1 cup limeade. Garnish with fresh strawberries and/or cucumber slices.
As far as the ice goes, Gaines has a bonus idea there, too: Freeze pieces of fruit in ice cube trays (top with water before freezing) to "give your cubes a flourish," she suggests.
To keep cool all summer long, after you master Gaines' easy limeade recipe and its six stellar variations, try our brand-new Lavender Lemonade, herbaceous Ginger-Thyme Sparkling Lemonade and partially fruit-sweetened Raspberry Limeade.
You can pick up a copy of the Summer 2022 issue of Magnolia Journal on newsstands, or you can order online here starting May 20.