But I think you'll forgive me once you taste this bright and tart limeade. Made with fresh in-season strawberries, thyme, and a whole bunch of freshly juiced limes, it's the perfect drink to take on a picnic or enjoy on the back porch on a sunny summer afternoon. (I also know for a fact that it's just as lovely sitting inside a small, sunny New York City apartment pretending you're sitting on a back porch.)
The strawberry flavor (and gorgeous natural bright pink color) come from fresh strawberries which are simmered for just a few minutes along with sugar and water then pureed until smooth and passed through a sieve to catch any little seeds or other funny bits. The resulting flavor is fresh and bright, enhanced by the subtle herbal quality of the thyme. You can also substitute other herbs here; basil, for example, is particularly lovely with strawberries. Mint would also be great.
And because I know someone is going to ask; yes this would make a fantastic cocktail! Vodka would be a natural addition, but I also think gin would add something a little fun and play well with the herby thyme flavor. Let me know if you try it out!
Note that the ratio in this recipe is purposely meant to produce a strong limeade. That's so you can pour it over ice cubes and not lose out on any flavor when they start to melt. If you want to drink it straight or just prefer something a little less strong, you dilute it; just add another cup or two of cold water to taste.
For a sparkling option, replace the cold water with cold seltzer and serve it up nice and fizzy!
New to Always Order Dessert? Consider subscribing to my RSS feed, follow me on Twitter, become a fan on Facebook, or sign up to receive my once-a-week e-mail updates by filling in your address in the box on the right. I also offer custom menu planning services and offer a variety of culinary workshops in the NYC area. Click here to find out more!
And if you ever need any entertaining or cooking advice, please don't hesitate to e-mail me.
Thanks for reading!
Strawberry Thyme Limeade
Serves about 6, can be doubled or tripled as desired
1 cup maple syrup OR turbinado sugar OR granulated sugar (I used half maple syrup/half turbinado sugar which added a lovely touch of molasses to the lemonade)
1 cup water
1 cup fresh or frozen strawberries, sliced
3 sprigs of fresh thyme
1 cup fresh lime juice (you can use equivalent fresh lemon juice for a lemonade version; I don't recommend using bottled juice)
4 cups cold water
Sliced limes, thyme sprigs, for garnish
In a medium saucepan over high heat, combine 1 cup sugar (or whichever sweetener you choose), 1 cup water, 1 cup sliced strawberries, and 3 sprigs thyme. Bring to a boil, then lower heat and let simmer gently for 5 minutes, stirring until sugar dissolves and strawberries soften. Let cool for 5 minutes. Remove thyme stems and pour into blender or food processor (or use stick blender) to puree until smooth.
Place a sieve over a large bowl or pitcher and pour puree into pitcher through sieve. Discard anything caught int he sieve. To the pitcher add the cup of fresh lime juice and 4 cups of cold water. Stir and chill for at least 1 hour.
Serve over ice garnished with sliced limes and fresh sprigs of thyme. Will keep in refrigerator for 3 days, or can be frozen.