This lemonade recipe is one of the simplest things in Barbie’s Easy-As-Pie Cookbook, but Barbie lists four options to fancy it up for company. Two of them are simple cosmetic differences, one adds fresh fruit flavor, and the last will turn your lemonade into a creamy, beautifully indulgent treat. Read on to check them all out.
- 2 large lemons (you’ll want about 1/4 cup lemon juice)
- 3 cups water
- 1/2 cup sugar
Cut lemons in half and squeeze out the juice. Measure, making sure you have at least 1/4 cup of juice, and then pour the juice into a quart-sized pitcher. Add water and sugar, and stir well to dissolve all the the sugar.
Chill until ready to serve, and then serve over ice cubes
-Adapted from Barbie’s Easy-As-Pie Cookbook
Given how simple lemonade is, Barbie offers several ways to dress it up (presumably so you can serve it again and again without your friends thinking your party prep is getting stale).
The first variation is pink lemonade:
Most pink lemonade recipes I’ve seen use a small amount of reddish fruit juice to add color and flavor, but Barbie takes the easy way out: red food coloring. That’s not as non-traditional as it may sound; the more disgusting of the competing origin stories for pink lemonade claims it was invented by a lemonade seller who brewed it with water that a circus performer had used to wash out her red tights. (Yum!)
And no Friendship Club mention of pink lemonade would be complete without a link to this song. It was never on any of Jump, Little Children’s albums, but Alana and I saw them live often enough in the 90s that we can still, after all these years, sing along. Make the lemonade, add the food coloring, maybe stir in a shot of gin, and then play that link out on your deck on a hot August night.
Next we’re staying in the pink lemonade realm but adding flavor as well as color:
Barbie suggests using 1/2 cup of crushed raspberries or strawberries for the full batch. I chucked three chopped strawberries into this small glass, mashed them a bit with an immersion blender, added ice and lemonade, and gave it all a quick stir. The result had a nice strawberry flavor without totally overwhelming the tartness of the lemonade.
The weirdest variation goes back to plain lemonade and food coloring again:
Interestingly enough, the food coloring doesn’t go directly into the lemonade here. Barbie’s bold idea was to make “mint-colored” ice cubes instead. I put a few drops of green food coloring into a small jug of water and poured the kryptonite-colored result into an ice cube tray. As it froze, the food coloring inside the ice took on an uneven, splotchy look, but as soon as I poured the lemonade, a significant amount of the color leeched out into the drink.
It’s still pretty much plain lemonade, but I’m totally swiping this colored ice trick to make a mad scientist-themed Halloween drink.
The last variation was the tastiest one, a lemonade sherbet float:
All you need to do is add a scoop or two of sherbet to the glass (I used orange sherbet). The sherbet will float and make a creamy, foamy top layer as it melts. Barbie suggests garnishing this with a maraschino cherry, which I forgot to do because I wanted to hurry up and get the photo done so I could drink it!
It was really good, y’all. And I am already plotting the best way to turn this boozy.
Barbie’s lemonade is just a touch too sweet for me. It’s probably great for kids, but if you’re like me and prefer your lemonade a bit more tart, you may want to cut back on the sugar here.
The real standout of this recipe is that last variation though. Coloring the lemonade or adding fruit could be fun for specific occasions, but that lemonade sherbet float is the perfect drink for a hot summer afternoon. Or pretty much any afternoon. It’s raining here right now, and I’m still about to go make another (slightly less sweet) batch of Barbie’s lemonade just so I can sherbet it up.