In the past, I’ve often been a bit critical of the ‘juice content’ of various drinks on the market – I got annoyed when my favorite lemonade brand decided to go ‘sugar lite!’ and remove a hefty amount of the lemon juice in the process – because some people are unwilling to limit their consumption (and leaving me with a watery disappointment). It sounds good, too, to be able to claim that such and such a drink has more ‘real fruit juice’ than the other brand – even if it turns out to be padded out with grape and apple juice.
So, it would seem peculiar that my latest amusement is making lemonade without the lemons. Not a milliliter, nor fraction of a fluid ounce of real fruit goes into this – I should hate it for the abomination that it is. Instead, however, I’m enjoying drinking a ‘Science Drink’ that consists of only three ingredients – and one of them is water.
Lemon-less Lemonade – Science Only Drink!
Citric Acid (or Sour Salt) – 1/2 tsp
Simple Syrup – 4 tbsp
Water – 1 cup
Mix it all together, ensuring the citric acid has dissolved, and drink – it will be perfectly clear, no bits, no color, no nothing – just the taste of lemonade.
Of course, you can change the proportions – I prefer my ‘lemonade’ to be a bit more sour – so much so that your cheeks feel like they’re trying to peel off of your face from the back of your jaw – but your taste will no doubt differ. The above recipe results in a relatively mild lemonade that doesn’t attempt facial reconfiguration.
A word of advice – while you’ll likely be able to find citric acid in your health food shop (they sell it to keep sprouts fresh), you’ll find it cheaper and just as good in the Kosher section of particularly large supermarkets, sold as sour salt. It’s the same stuff.
If you like your lemonade fizzy, then substitute club soda for the water.
If you have no simple syrup, then plain old sugar (in granulated or powdered form) will work fine – you’ll just have to work harder to dissolve it in the water. It does mean you can make a dry mix to take with you anywhere (which is, I can only assume, what all of the lemonade powders on the market eventually boil down to).
Lastly, the chemical structure of citric acid strikes me as very jolly – it looks like it’s trying to write “O ho ho ho ho ho!”
(The wonderful photograph above is from Pere Tubert Juhé’s Flickr account.)