For less than $2 you can completely spice up (pun intended) your lemonade. My husband came up with this recipe, and to be completely honest I was very nervous about trying it. Jalapeño Ginger Lemonade sounds weird and crazy, and on top of that I’m not a huge fan of the flavor of jalapeño peppers. Ginger and jalapeños are two of my husband’s favorite flavors so in a moment of genius he decided to combine them.
You will need a juicer to make this recipe. You can buy little bottles of pure ginger juice at the grocery store, but I haven’t been able to find pure jalapeño juice anywhere yet (if you find it, let me know!). I think you could throw a jalapeño in the blender with a tablespoon or two of water and then strain it, but I haven’t tried that yet because my poor $20 blender is on its way out after 6 long years of service.
Let’s start with the ginger. Ginger is a root that is often used to add flavor to food or for its herbal health benefits. The ginger will give the lemonade a flavor that balances out the spiciness of the jalapeño. The clump of ginger you buy at the store is called a “hand.” The little off-shoots on the hand are called “fingers.” I juiced almost an entire hand of fresh ginger for this recipe. Ginger is pretty cheap and a hand of ginger should be less than a dollar. To prep the ginger, make sure it is clean and then juice it and set aside. That’s it! You don’t even need to peel it. Make sure you juice your ginger first. This recipe is based off of that assumption. If you juice your jalapeño first it will make your ginger juice spicy and throw off the ratios.
You only need around half of a jalapeño for your Jalapeño Ginger Lemonade. But you can juice the whole jalapeño and save the leftover juice for marinades if you’d like. I left the seeds in and juiced the jalapeño whole. The spiciness of the jalapeño pairs very nicely with the sweet acidity of the lemonade. Jalapeños are also usually less than a dollar. Juice your jalapeño and set the juice aside.
Combine the sugar and the 1½ cup of water in a small saucepan. Heat until the sugar is just dissolved. Set aside and allow to cool. Combine the remaining water, lemon juice, and sugar-water. Stir thoroughly and make sure you like the flavor of the lemonade. Some people like their lemonade stronger (less water) or more sour (more lemon juice). Now alternately add the ginger juice and jalapeño juice in ½ teaspoon increments. Stir and taste after each addition. This will make sure the balance is right. Remember, you can always add more ginger and jalapeño juice, but you can’t take it out again. I put in 1 teaspoon of jalapeño juice and 1½ teaspoon ginger juice.
Jalapeño Ginger Lemonade
- 1½ teaspoons fresh ginger juice (roughly one hand)
- 1 teaspoon fresh jalapeño juice (roughly half a jalapeño)
- 1½ cup lemon juice
- 1½ cup sugar
- 1½ cup water
- 7 cups cold water
- This recipe yields about 3 quarts or ¾ of a gallon of lemonade.
- Add the sugar and 1½ cup of water to a pot. Heat over a medium heat just until the sugar is dissolved. Immediately remove from the heat and set aside.
- Juice the jalapeño. Set aside.
- Juice the hand of ginger (see note). Set aside.
- In a pitcher mix the lemon juice, sugar water, and the remaining seven cups of water.
- Now it's time to add some kick to our lemonade. Add the jalapeño juice and ginger juice in ½ teaspoon increments. Make sure you stir and taste the mixture after adding every ½ teaspoon up to 1 teaspoon of jalapeño juice and 1½ teaspoon of ginger juice. I've noticed that sometimes the ginger and jalapeño juice is stronger than other times so make sure you add the juices gradually.
- Add ice and serve immediately or store it in the fridge and save for up to three days (make sure you stir the lemonade before serving).