Refrigerated Lemonade: What's Your Favorite?
In the last throes of summer, a man's attention turns to lemonade. Lemonade is considered a summer drink, though I don't understand why. Lemons are grown year-round, according to the USDA. I drink lemonade all year. It's incredibly refreshing and goes with anything from hamburgers to pizza to pastas with tomato-based sauces. But I digress.
We're here to discuss the results of the Serious Eats Lemonade Taste-Off. I must admit I did this one myself. My officemates were simply too busy working on the site to join me on my lemonade quest.
Newman's Own Virgin Lemonade
15 percent lemon juice. Newman's Own won a Cook's Illustrated taste test a couple of years ago, and it was certainly very good, but I tasted a little too much lemon pulp and oil. If you like your lemonade slightly acidic, this is the lemonade for you.
Ingredients: Pure filtered water, high fructose corn syrup, sugar, lemon juice from concentrate, lemon pulp and lemon oil
15 percent lemon juice. Tropicana lemonade had a weird unnatural taste, perhaps from the unidentified natural flavors on the ingredient list. It was also too sweet. Shouldn't food manufacturers have to spell out just what natural flavors they use?
Ingredients: Filtered water, high fructose corn syrup, sucrose, lemon juice concentrate, ascorbic acid (vitamin C) and other natural flavors. 10 percent lemon juice
12 percent lemon juice. Simply Lemonade was a tad too sweet, but it had a nice lemony flavor and balance between sweet and tart.
Ingredient: Pure filtered water, natural sugar, lemon juice, natural flavors
Sir Real Pure Squeezed Lemonade
15 percent "fresh-squeezed lemon juice." By all rights this should have been the winner. They use fresh-squeezed lemon juice and lots of it, and its ingredient list is refreshingly short (see below). Then why did it have an odd, zesty, acidic aftertaste? Perhaps the fresh-squeezed lemons they juiced weren't very good or ripe.
Ingredients: Water, fresh-squeezed lemon juice, cane sugar
17 percent lemon juice. I really liked this one, but the folks here at Serious Eats world headquarters who tried it thought it was too sweet. I thought it had a nice sweet-tart balance and low acidity.
Ingredients: Water, cane sugar, lemon juice
Whole Foods 365 Lemonade
I found this lemonade to be the oddest in the bunch. I kept tasting things in the lemonade that weren't listed in the ingredients. I'm sure it was me, but in any case I would not buy this lemonade again.
Ingredients: Water, sugar, lemon juice
So there you have it. Enjoy either the Newman's Own, Simply Lemonade, or the sweeter Odwalla year-round. There was no clear-cut winner. You'll have to taste all three and tell me which you prefer. The Odwalla is, at $5, the most expensive of the bunch by a fair amount. Although I am usually loathe to admit this, perhaps lemonade is something worth making from scratch. Here's a great recipe from Serious Eats friend Elise Bauer at Simply Recipes.