Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Vanilla Star Anise Lemonade

I was recently in Atlanta for a few days for meetings.  When in Atlanta we often order lunch from a place called Fresh to Order.  They have some decidedly friendly vegan options in which includes a Vanilla Star Anise Lemonade that is absolutely wonderful.

Because we were a decent sized lunch order we ordered a gallon of the stuff. I am not ashamed to admit that between me and one other woman at the meeting we drank almost the whole gallon.  The flavor is sophisticated, delicious, unique and somewhat addictive.

This, and the Corn and Peanut Salad pictured below (which I hope to recreate soon) are definitely the reason I will be planning my next business meeting in Atlanta!

If you like lemonade, vanilla, and anise flavors I would strongly encourage you to give this a try. I will make it again and again.

Vanilla Star Anise Lemonade

For the simple syrup:
1 cup vegan granulated sugar
1 cup water
3 large pieces of lemon peel (best removed with a vegetable peeler)
1 vanilla bean
3 star anise pods
1 pinch sea salt
Cheese cloth or a fine strainer to strain syrup

For the lemonade:
Juice of 6-8 lemons, strained to remove pulp
Simple syrup (recipe above)
8-10 cups cold water
Lemon slices for garnish (optional)

Split the vanilla bean down the center and remove the seeds with a sharp knife. In a medium saucepan add the sugar, lemon peel, 1 cup of water, salt,  star anise pods and the vanilla seeds and bean pod. Bring the mixture to a boil and then turn the heat down to a simmer. Once the sugar is completely dissolved simmer  for a bout 5-10 minutes in order to bring out the flavors of the lemon, vanilla and star anise.

Strain the mixture through a cheese cloth and set aside to cool.

Once the simple syrup has cooled add it to a large pitcher and then pour in the strained lemon juice. Add 8-10 cups cold water (water may be adjusted to factor in more or less sweet/tart lemonade).

Serve over ice garnished with lemon slices if desired.