Start to Finish: 10 minutes
Servings: 1
Difficulty Level: Beginner

  • 2 lemons

  • 2 cups crushed ice or 6 to 7 ice cubes

  • 1/4 cup sugar

  • 1 1/2 cups cold water 

Lemon shake-ups have become a summertime staple at county fairs and festivals across America. With just four ingredients, you can make this refreshing lemonade-style treat at home, and save yourself a wad of cash in the process. Create a simple syrup to ensure the sugar is evenly distributed, or choose the traditional method of straight sugar to water. Either way, it’s like bringing a piece of the midway into your kitchen.

Cut the lemons in half, and hand-squeeze or ream the juice into a 1-quart Mason jar or cocktail shaker.

Add the sugar. Press the lemons into the sugar until the juice and sugar are incorporated, using a lemon reamer or spoon. Leave the lemon halves in the jar or shaker.

Add the water and ice. Secure the lid tightly onto the jar or shaker. Shake the jar vigorously for 1 to 2 minutes or until the sugar is dissolved.

Pour the lemon shake-up from the shaker into a tall glass — or drink it straight from the Mason jar.

Bring 1/2 cups of water and the sugar to a boil in a saucepan to create a simple syrup. Allow it to boil about 3 minutes, stirring occasionally to ensure the sugar is dissolved. Remove the pan from the heat and allow the simple syrup to cool.

Cut the lemons in half and juice them into the syrup. Squeeze them by hand or use a lemon reamer. Add the reamed lemons to the syrup. Chill the mixture in the refrigerator.

Pour the lemon mixture into a 1-quart Mason jar or cocktail shaker. Add the ice and remaining water. Place the lid securely onto the jar or shaker and shake it vigorously for about 1 minute. Pour the mixture into a tall glass or drink it straight from the Mason jar.

Crush the ice cubes in a blender or food processor. Alternatively, place them in a plastic freezer bag and pound them until crushed.

Pressing the lemon halves into the sugar in the traditional method helps to dissolve the sugar and also releases the oils from the lemon peel, giving your lemon shake-up an added boost of flavor.

Adjust the amount of sugar according to your preference.

Keep one hand on the lid of the cocktail shaker to keep it securely in place.

Simple syrup can be stored in a sterile, covered container for several weeks in the refrigerator.

Remove the lemon halves, if desired, and garnish the lemon shake-up with a lemon quarter or piece of lemon rind.