Can't deal with juicing a ton of lemons? Throw a whole lemon in the blender and you'll see that laziness has its own rewards.
Whole-lemon lemonade isn't a new idea. To the best of my knowledge, it arrived on the pages of the now-defunct Gourmet magazine well over a decade ago. Since then, the idea of making lemonade by simply plunking an entire lemon into your blender, rind and all, with the other ingredients – sugar, water – and blitzing until blended has spread widely. Blender technology has only improved in the intervening years, and the core appeal of this lemonade-making method remains the same. You get to skip the tedious juicing of many, many lemons, but still make lemonade from scratch, plus you get the satisfaction of using up pretty much the entire lemon.
Photo by Francesca Hotchin
I say "pretty much" because blender lemonade does require you to cut the lemon into quarters or eighths and remove the seeds to the extent that you can. The inclusion of the rind in the drink adds a note of bitterness that other lemonade methods don't really have, and removing the pith helps cut that down. For the lemonade, I usually halve this MyRecipes version of the drink – one lemon, broken down as mentioned, a quarter cup plus two tablespoons of sugar, two cups of water, and a handful of ice, maybe four or five cubes. Blend until frothy, about a minute in my blender. Strain in a fine-mesh sieve, drink. This makes about two servings, but you can up the quantities as needed.
You can play with the ratios to make a lemonade that's tarter or sweeter, according to your liking. I sometimes squeeze an extra lemon into the blender without adding the peel, which ups the tartness and tames the bitterness, too. Admittedly, the bitter undertone in the drink isn't for everyone, but I found it is a particularly excellent lemonade for making a lemonade frozen cocktail. Add in an ounce of your favorite liquor, and a few more ice cubes, and let it rip. Tequila and gin play very well here, or you could add some bourbon. Our photo editor Sarah Crowder made some with mint and gin, which sounds extremely good. You can also add a pinch of salt if that's the way you like your beverages, or some herbs like basil or a touch of rosemary, or even a sprig of lavender for a floral undertone. There are no rules in blended-lemonade land!
The same blending whole method works for limes to make a quick limeade, or a base for Margaritas. Once you lean into the somewhat deranged, who-cares-about-anything-anyway energy of throwing whole lemons in your blender, you won't want to stop.