Sweetened with a fresh peach and mint infused simple syrup, this Peach Mint Lemonade tastes like summer in a glass. It’s easy to make, too!
I love infusing fresh fruits and herbs into drinks, especially during the summer months when produce is at its peak. Last year, I shared with you my favorite recipe for Strawberry Basil Soda, and this year, I’m all about pitchers of Peach Mint Lemonade. Stirring fresh fruit puree into beverages is a great way to change up your game a little bit, bringing bright, new flavors to classics. When it’s hot out (as in those 90+ degree days we had here in New Jersey not long ago), few things make me feel more refreshed than a ripe, juicy peach or a cold glass of lemonade. Mixed together, they strike a nice balance between sweetness and tartness, with a cooling pop of mint in the background. Poured over plentiful ice, this lemonade’s sunny pastel hue looks and tastes like the best of summer.
When it comes to lemonade, I admit that I can be a little picky. I don’t like it lip-puckeringly tart, or too sweet, or, most importantly, fake-lemony. Call me crazy, but if no actual lemons were squeezed in the process, it isn’t lemonade in my book! When I first set out to make Peach Mint Lemonade, I tried a couple of different methods. Raw peach puree stirred into mint-infused simple syrup worked great with fruit that was particularly fragrant. If the peaches weren’t prime specimens, though, the peach flavor was almost totally lost when stirred into the lemonade. I found that using the same method as I did in my soda—steeping the fruit and herbs in hot simple syrup until cooled to room temperature—really developed the flavors, regardless of whether I started with the “peachiest” of peaches.
This is a great recipe for using up peaches that are just getting to be past their prime (or, the discounted, bruised peaches sometimes sold in farm markets). Since you’ll be chopping the peaches and cooking them down, it doesn’t matter if they aren’t the prettiest of the crop. It isn’t much more of a time commitment beyond a pitcher of simple syrup based classic lemonade, either. Since the solids are strained out from the syrup and discarded, there’s no need to peel the peaches. Just pit, chop, simmer, and strain.
Peach Mint Lemonade is easily made ahead of time, making it easy for entertaining. It keeps well for up to three days, covered in the refrigerator. In fact, we prefer it on the second and third days, after the flavors have had a chance to meld. Since the sweetness of the peaches can vary from crop to crop (I had several this year that, while ripe, were quite tart!), I tend to start with 1/2 cup of freshly-squeezed lemon juice to 4 cups of cold water and adjust to taste from there, keeping in mind that the flavor will dilute when served over ice. For the adults in the room, it’s also delicious as a spiked cocktail. A splash of peach schnapps is lovely, and you can never go wrong adding a little bourbon, white rum, tequila, or citrus-flavored vodka. Cheers!
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Peach Mint Lemonade
The lemon juice and cold water proportions are easily adjusted to your personal tartness/strength preferences. Lemonade keeps well, covered, in the refrigerator for up to three days. As it sits, the fruit and mint flavors will develop, especially if you've added any additional peach slices or mint sprigs to the pitcher. If making ahead of time, stir before serving.
Peach-Mint Simple Syrup
- 2 cups diced ripe peaches (about 3 medium, pitted)
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 1 cup water
- 1-1/2 cups packed mint leaves, roughly chopped
- 1/2 - 1 cup freshly-squeezed lemon juice*
- 4 cups cold water
Make the peach-mint simple syrup
In a medium saucepan, combine diced peaches, granulated sugar, and 1 cup water. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer about 5 minutes until sugar is dissolved and peaches are fragrant. Remove from heat, stir in chopped mint leaves, and let steep until cooled, about an hour. Strain through a fine-mesh sieve, pressing on solids to release juices. Discard solids.
Mix the lemonade
In a large pitcher, combine lemon juice (I always start with 1/2 cup and increase to taste from there), peach-mint simple syrup, and 4 cups cold water, to your personal sweetness/tartness preferences. (This will also depend on the sweetness of your peaches, which can vary widely. Remember that lemonade will further dilute in flavor when served over ice, so it's best to keep the mixture slightly concentrated.) Pour into ice-filled glasses garnished with additional peach slices and a sprig of mint, if desired.
Spike it for the adults: Add bourbon, white rum, peach schnapps, tequila, or citrus-flavored vodka, to taste.
Sparkle it: Substitute 4 cups cold sparking water when mixing the lemonade.
Melba it: Add a generous handful of raspberries with the peaches to the hot simple syrup.