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I opened the bottle of your vanilla extract last weekend to bake some cookies and the difference in taste is extraordinary." – Judy

Perfect Recipe for Sparkling Lemonade with Vanilla Bean Swizzle Sticks

Sparkling Lemonade with vanilla beans
Sparkling Lemonade with vanilla beans

 Every year I make gallons of sparkling lemonade as I’m blessed with a Meyer lemon tree that produces fruit nearly year ’round.  I don’t really think about it — it’s just what I serve. Sometimes I’ll create a blend with oranges, tangerines or limes, but usually it’s just fresh lemonade with sparkling water and a small amount of vanilla to soften the acidity.

So it came as a surprise when I served lemonade at a garden party recently that several people came up to say that I’d made the best lemonade they’d ever tasted. I really never thought about it, but I suspect that the combination of the organic sugar and the vanilla may be the secret. Or maybe it’s because most people make lemonade from frozen concentrate. Who knows? I have to say that it’s delicious!

Here’s my recipe. I used Meyer lemons so you will need to adapt the recipe slightly if you use Eureka or other more tart and acidic lemons. I often make up several cups of simple syrup and store it in the refrigerator. It will keep for a couple of weeks.


Perfect Recipe for Sparkling Lemonade with Vanilla Bean Swizzle Sticks



Simple Syrup

11/2 cups water

11/2 cups cane sugar or Rain’s Choice Vanilla Sugar


1 cup lemon juice (46 lemons)

Simple syrup to taste

1/21 teaspoon Rain’s Choice pure Vanilla Extract

4 cups sparkling water or to taste


For the Simple Syrup

In small saucepan, mix the water and sugar and bring to a boil.

Stir well so that the sugar is all dissolved and then turn the heat to medium and allow to cook for 5 – 10 minutes or until it begins to get syrupy.

Allow the syrup to cool.

For the Lemonade

Mix part of the simple syrup with the lemon juice.

Add the sparkling water and taste. You will need less syrup with Meyer lemons as they are a little sweeter and less acid.

Add syrup until you have the balance of sweetness you like.

Add in extract to taste. You don’t need much, but it helps to cut the acidity, especially with tart fruit.

Mix well and add more sparkling water if the lemonade is a little stronger than you like. However, if you are adding ice, it will dilute some, so be judicious.

Garnish with mint or lemon slices if desired.

If it’s a special party, rinse off some vanilla beans and use them as swizzle sticks. They’re unbelievably aromatic in beverages and make a great party favor as they can be used again.


Syrup made with organic sugar is light to medium brown. The extra molasses in the sugar adds an interesting dimension to the lemonade.

Instead of adding extract, use our Rain’s Choice Vanilla Sugar for part or all of the simple syrup. Make up a batch of it if you’re making a lot of beverages as it’s great for bar beverages as well.

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