When lemons caramelize on the grill, they become sweeter and slightly smoky. Combine their juice with a rosemary and jalapeño simple syrup, and you add a fresh, green flavor that makes lemonade reminiscent of an infused cocktail.
4 cups water
2 cups sugar
8 large lemons, halved
2 jalapeños sliced into about 4 pieces each, with seeds
4 sprigs of fresh rosemary
Since lemonade preferences range from slightly sweet to downright sugary, I prefer to make additional syrup and serve it on the side in a mini pitcher. We will only use 1 cup of the rosemary jalapeño simple syrup in the lemonade when we mix it, but this recipe affords you with some extra.
For the base of the simple syrup, bring 2 cups of water to a boil. Add sugar and stir until dissolved. Turn off the heat, and the jalapeños and rosemary. If you grow your own rosemary, cut about a 10-inch, very full stem for this recipe. That equates to about 4 sprigs of rosemary that may be purchased at a market.
Allow the rosemary and jalapeños to infuse for about 20 minutes. I prefer this amount of time as it imparts a little heat but mostly all of that wonderful, green flavor. If you would like the syrup to be hotter, continue infusing for up to an hour. Taste periodically, and stop infusing when you like the flavor. Strain the mixture through a mesh sieve, retaining the syrup.
Rosemary and jalapeño make a great pair, as they both are incredibly crisp and fresh. I love the way the kitchen smells by now in the process.
Next, caramelize the lemons by placing them cut side down on a grill or grill pan over medium-high heat. Remove from the heat about 5 minutes, when you see dark grill lines, and the lemons have begun to take on a caramelized color. Allow the lemons to cool slightly, and then squeeze them into a pitcher. You should have about 1 ½ cups of juice. Strain through a mesh sieve if you prefer to remove the pulp.
If you have not cooked lemons in this way previously, pause to taste the juice. The puckery bite is still there, but it’s balanced with extra sweetness.
Add 2 cups of cold water and 1 cup of the syrup to the lemon juice. Stir to combine. At this point I think it’s perfect, but serve it along with a mini pitcher of extra rosemary jalapeño simple syrup so that your guests can adjust to taste.