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glasses of lemonade with mint and flowers.

Vintage Style Lemonade Recipe

Amy Traynor
This simple lemonade recipe utilizes the lemon peels to make a vintage citrus oil syrup called oleo saccharum that gives the drink a punch of fresh lemon flavor.
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Prep Time 5 mins
Infusion time 1 hr
Total Time 1 hr 5 mins
Course Drinks
Cuisine American
Servings 1 pitcher


  • 11 lemons (organic preferred)
  • 5 oz sugar (about 3/4 cup)
  • 5 oz + 6 cups cold water


For the oleo saccharum syrup:

  • Create the oleo saccharum simple syrup by peeling the lemons with a vegetable peeler or a sharp paring knife and tossing them with the sugar in a medium sized mixing bowl.
  • Cover and let sit for a couple of hours (at least one hour, ideally two or three).
  • Once nearly all of the sugar has dissolved into a liquid in the bottom of the bowl, you’ve created oleo saccharum. To ease this concentrated syrup into our lemonade recipe, add 5 oz of water to the mixing bowl and stir to remove any undissolved sugar from the peels.
  • Strain out the peels, reserving the syrup.

For the lemonade:

  • Juice the peeled lemons until you have 1 cup of juice (how many lemons this takes will vary).
  • Add the lemon juice, 1 cup of the oleo saccharum syrup, and 6 cups of cold water to a large pitcher and stir well. Store leftovers in the fridge for up to a week.
  • Serve over ice for a traditional take, or over ice with 1.5 - 2 oz of your spirit of choice for a boozy lemonade. Lemonade is wonderful with clear spirits, but I highly recommend trying it with cognac, rum, or whiskey! Garnish with lemon wheels, mint, and edible flowers, if desired.


Note regarding the oleo saccharum: The exact measurements don’t matter for creating oleo saccharum. Simply combine equal parts (by weight is best, if possible) lemon peels and sugar. For our purpose, we’re then adding water to dissolve the remaining sugar. This resulted in about 1 cup of oleo saccharum simple syrup used to sweeten the lemonade. Use undiluted oleo saccharum in all kinds of cocktails, from punches to Old Fashioneds!
Keyword classic drinks, lemonade, mocktail, oleo saccharum, summer drinks, vintage
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