This quick and easy mint lemonade uses fresh mint from the garden to make a refreshing summer drink. Add a little bourbon or gin to make a cocktail!
Who else has a ton of mint in their garden?
This year, we have... an excessive amount of mint in our container garden. I'm pretty pleased about it.
My sweet mint popped back up from last year, and a friend gave us peppermint, spearmint, apple mint, catnip (for catnip tea and for my cat), and chocolate mint (my favorite!).
If you think that seems like a lot of mint, you'd be correct. But that's not all.
A few days later, my mother-in-law ordered pineapple mint, strawberry mint, orange mint, banana mint, and candy mint. So now we have our own little mint jungle.
A mint jungle that needs pruned often.
Happily, harvesting mint is one of life's great pleasures. Not only does it smell amazing, it's also delicious!
You guessed it, I made mint lemonade.
What Kind of Mint Should I Use for Mint Lemonade?
Use whatever mint you have on hand!
If you've only got one kind of mint, that's perfectly fine! If you also have a mint jungle in your container garden, mix and match the flavors.
Should the Mint Leaves Be Fresh or Dried?
This recipe uses fresh mint.
If you have dried mint, you can use that too, but with one caution.
Dried mint does not stay flavorful for a long time, so make sure to smell your dried mint before using it. Rub some between your fingers.
If the dried mint still smells fragrant, go ahead and use it. If it smells like nothing, throw it out!
How to Make Mint Lemonade
Start by making mint simple syrup.
To make the syrup, you'll add fresh mint leaves to a pot with equal amounts of water and sugar.
Bring the water to a boil, and then remove it from the heat. Set the mixture aside and let it infuse (and cool down) for about 15 minutes.
How to Juice Lemons for Lemonade
While the syrup cools, juice your lemons. You want about 1 cup of lemon juice, so juice somewhere between six and eight lemons until you have enough juice.
I highly recommend using a citrus reamer or citrus juicer instead of attempting to squeeze each lemon by hand.
I like a simple wooden citrus reamer, so I squeeze the lemon juice into a measuring cup and then strain out the seeds and pulp.
If you don't want to strain out out the seeds and pulp, I recommend using a juicer instead (like this OXO citrus juicer), because it will catch the pulp and seeds as you juice.
I choose a reamer over a juicer because it takes up less space in my kitchen.
Making Mint Lemonade
Finally, add the lemon juice and four cups of water to a pitcher.
Strain the mint out of the syrup, and pour the syrup into the lemonade.
If you'd like to turn this into a cocktail (a.k.a. hard lemonade), add an ounce or two of bourbon, vodka, or gin to each glass of lemonade.
I like to serve my lemonade over crushed ice with a sprig of fresh mint, because I just can't get enough mint!
Want more lemonade ideas? Try this frozen strawberry lemonade from Girl Heart Food!
Mint Simple Syrup:
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 cup fresh mint, loosely packed + rinsed
- 6-8 lemons (approx. 1 cup fresh lemon juice), plus 1 more for garnish (sliced and deseeded)
- 4 cups water
- optional: handful fresh mint leaves
Optional Hard Lemonade Add-Ins:
- 9-12 oz bourbon, gin, or vodka, depending on desired alcohol content (optionally, add 1-½ to 2 oz alcohol per 8 oz of lemonade)
- Make simple syrup by adding sugar, mint and 1 cup water to a small saucepan. Bring to a boil, and then remove from heat. Set syrup aside and allow it to cool.
- Meanwhile, juice lemons until you have about 1 cup of juice. Pour juice into pitcher, and add 4 cups of cold water.
- Strain the mint out of the syrup. Add half the cooled syrup, and taste the lemonade. Add the remaining syrup if desired.Tip: Store any leftover syrup in a sealed container in the fridge for up to a month.
- Serve in a pitcher, or in glasses filled with ice. Garnish glasses with fresh mint.If serving hard, add liquor to pitcher, or add to individual glasses as serving.