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Lemonade and Iced Tea
by Fred Thompson
(Harvard Common Press)

Lemonade:
Iced Tea:

Reviewed by Lisa Messinger

Fred Thompson has taken the old, practical adage, "When life gives you lemons, make lemonade," to delicious heights. Fortunately, he is also quite savvy about what to do when life gives you tea bags.

Lemonade: 50 Cool Recipes for Classic, Flavored and Hard Lemonade and Sparklers and Iced Tea: 50 Recipes for Refreshing Tisanes, Infusions, Coolers and Spiked Teas include all you need to know (as well as alluring color photographs as guides) to make you popular among the thirsty set. In both books, first you get the helpful basics, as well as cautions that it might not all be as easy as it seems.

"Buying lemons is an exercise in confusion," Thompson, writes in Lemonade. "Are the bigger 2-for-99-cent lemons juicier than the smaller 9-in-a-bag lemons for $2.49? With lemons, bigger and more expensive is not necessarily better. Look for lemons with a smooth skin and no blemishes. They should feel heavy for their size. The medium-size, by-the-bag lemons tend to have thinner rinds than the bigger ones. That makes them easier to juice and makes for better-looking slices and wedges for garnishes. Lemons that feel rock hard usually have thicker rinds; if you have a choice, avoid them."

What you will undoubtedly not find yourself avoiding are Thompson's refreshing recipes. He's more than a guy who had a few empty pitchers handy. He's a professional recipe developer whose prestigious Culinary Institute of America training shows in his innovative, right-on-target blends. To perfect your craft, old-fashioned, traditional versions fill your first glasses. Then it's on to dozens of tempters like lemonades flavored with basil, spearmint, vanilla beans, kiwi or chocolate and iced teas infused with pineapple, apple cider, ginger or Jack Daniel's, as in Thompson's smooth Beach Bourbon Slush, which also includes lemonade and orange juice concentrates and ginger ale.

There's plenty of crossover like that—lemonade concentrate or lots of fresh lemon juice in the iced teas and tea in some of the lemonades. For those enamored with these luscious ingredients, it will be a love fest, indeed.

Buy Lemonade
Buy Iced Tea

RECIPES

WATERMELON LEMONADE
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8 cups seeded watermelon, cut into 1-inch chunks
1 cup hulled and quartered fresh strawberries
1 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice (about 3 lemons)
2 cups water (approximately)
Thin watermelon wedges with the rind (optional, for garnish)
Yields about 1-1/2 quarts.

In a food processor fitted with a steel blade, pulse the watermelon, strawberries and sugar until blended and smooth.
Strain through a fine-mesh strainer into a 2-quart container, pushing down on the solids to get all the juice. Add the lemon juice and enough of the water to make 1-1/2 quarts.

Chill until very cold. Serve over ice with a wedge of watermelon, if desired.

ALMOND ICED TEA

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8 cups cold water
9 regular-size tea bags or 3 family-size tea bags
1 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1-1/2 teaspoons pure almond extract
Juice of 3 lemons
Yields about 2 quarts.

Bring 2 cups of the water to a slow boil in a small saucepan. Add the tea bags, cover, and remove from the heat. Let steep for 10 minutes.
Remove the tea bags without squeezing them.

Pour the steeped tea into a 2-quart heatproof container. Add the sugar and stir or shake until dissolved. Add the vanilla, almond extract and lemon juice and stir or shake to combine. Add the remaining 6 cups cold water and stir.

Let cool, then chill and serve over ice.

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