“The vanilla in this recipe cuts the acidity of the lemon, and the real vanilla specks make it an especially pretty drink,” writes Hugh Acheson in “A New Turn in the South” (Clarkson Potter, $35).
The addition of mint and rosemary to the cooking process also makes this a special lemonade.
Lemonade Made with Vanilla, Mint and Rosemary
8 cups (2 quarts) water
8 large lemons
1 cup sugar
10 sprigs of fresh mint, divided use
1/2 vanilla bean, scraped seeds and pod
1 sprig of fresh rosemary
Pour the water in a large pot over high heat and bring to a boil. While the water is coming to a boil, halve the lemons and juice them thoroughly. Place the juice and the juiced lemon halves in a large heat-proof nonreactive pot. Add the sugar, 2 sprigs of mint, the vanilla seeds and pod, and the rosemary.
Pour the boiling water over the mixture. Stir carefully and let sit for 20 minutes. Stir well again and strain out the solids, then discard them and pour the lemonade into Mason jars or a large pitcher and keep refrigerated until people get thirsty.
To serve, pour the lemonade over ice in tall glasses, garnish each with a sprig of mint and sit on a porch.
Makes 2 quarts or 8 servings.