Raspberry Vanilla Lemonade

I've got a fun beverage idea for you today! It's a Raspberry Vanilla Lemonade. I whipped this drink up on Monday when I had guests coming over for brunch because I realized that I didn't have anything else in the house but water! I only ever drink water, lemon water, or herbal tea (I don't like soda or sugary drinks and prefer to eat--rather than drink--my calories) so I never keep it in the house. When prepping for brunch, I thought about food, but completely forgot to get something to drink. Fortunately, I remembered the packet of frozen raspberries in the freezer and since I always have dozens of lemons and limes (I literally have a citrus drawer in my fridge), I got to work.

As gorgeous as it looks, this is a super easy drink to put together. Simply combine the raspberries (or sub any other kind of berry) with sugar and a little vanilla extract, and let them macerate in the bottom of a pitcher or large bowl for about 20 minutes or so (you can even prep this part overnight if you prefer). In the meantime, you can squeeze your lemon juice (PLEASE don't use those gross little squeezey bottles--that stuff is nasty). Then add the lemon juice, plus water and ice, give it a stir, and you're all set! I leave this drink pulpy and with the seeds in it, because I like it that way (plus, added fiber!), but if you prefer, you can certainly pass it through a sieve to remove the seeds.

I love the subtle twist the vanilla extract adds to this drink. It's not super noticeable, but it definitely adds a little something special. I also tossed a split vanilla bean into the jar for good measure (totally optional).

This is a great drink to serve at bridal or baby showers, or really just about any summer party. I love that it's so bright and colorful, yet completely natural.

Want to spike it up? Substitute part of the water for your favorite booze--I suggest either vodka or tequila.

Enjoy!

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Raspberry Vanilla Lemonade
Serves about 6

Ingredients

1 cup turbinado sugar (sugar in the raw; substitute granulated white sugar)
1 1/2  cups fresh or frozen raspberries
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup fresh lemon juice
4 cups cold water
1 vanilla bean, split (optional)
2 cups ice

Directions
Combine sugar, raspberries, and vanilla in a large pitcher or bowl. Stir and let macerate for 20 minutes. Use the back of a fork to mash raspberries periodically.

Add lemon juice and water, and stir. Add the vanilla bean, if using, and ice. Stir and serve immediately.



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