Friday, May 10, 2013

Honey Vanilla Bean Lemondrop Martini

Yes, of course you can just make this for the family without the alcohol!  But even if you do, remember - everything is more fun when you serve it "fancy"... with the lemon slice and the mint and the sugar rim.  Even the "fancy lemonade" version will make the kids excited! 

 
Ingredients for just the Honey Vanilla Bean Lemonade -
*This recipe will make about 1/2 a gallon.  
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1/2 of a vanilla bean
  • 1 cup water for the simple syrup
  • cold water to make up the rest (up to half a gallon)
  • garnish - large sparkling sugar for the rim, additional lemon slices, mint leaves
  • 5 large lemons 
    • (need 1 1/4 cups freshly squeezed lemon juice)
Extra ingredients for the Martini version - 
  • Vanilla vodka (I used Smirnoff) 



Step-by-Step:

If you are making just the lemonade part, it is absolutely essential that you have some cute helpers!
Step 1 - Squeeze the lemons! :)  I have an automatic juicer, but this one is MUCH more fun!  You'll need about 5 large lemons.
In a medium pot, combine sugar, honey, and water.
1 cup sugar

1/4 cup honey

1 cup water
Heat it until all the sugar has dissolved.
While the sugar is dissolving, split your vanilla bean with the tip of a sharp knife.  *This is only half of a vanilla bean.  You can see I snapped it off at the natural bend.
With the edge of a knife, scrape out the vanilla "caviar" with gentle, but firm pressure.
Add the vanilla beans to the simple syrup you have just made.
Bring the syrup to a boil and let it boil for 4 - 5 minutes until it is slightly thickened and reduced.  Remove from heat and let it cool.  This also gives the vanilla beans time to perfume the syrup.
While the syrup is cooking, add the fresh squeezed lemon juice to a pitcher.
Remove the vanilla bean "pods" from the syrup.
Add the syrup to the lemon juice.
See the specks of vanilla bean in there?!  Yum!  If you would prefer to NOT have them in there, you can pour your syrup through a fine strainer or cheese cloth first.  I personally like them in there.
Add cold water up to about half a gallon... or the strength you would like it.
Add some fresh lemon slices to the top.  And there you have it!
 
 My happy little lemonade customer!.. complete with the "fancy" stuff.





And now just for the grown ups...

Add 2 parts Vanilla Vodka to a shaker filled with ice. 

Add 4 parts of the awesome honey vanilla bean lemonade that you just made.
Shake shake shake!  - then strain out into a martini glass that you have rimmed with sparkling sugar crystals.  (I used honey around the rim to "glue" the sugar on.)
Garnish with a fresh lemon slice and some fresh mint.
 

Ahhh.... Summer in a glass!
 

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