Summer Is ... About Turning Life's Lemons Into A Sparkling Lemon Sangria

I've been a little behind in posting additions to #SummerIs. In part because I've been enjoying the actual summer instead of writing about it. I haven't forgotten. And here is the next installment.

It's by Jessica Gordon Ryan (@GimletMommy), who I met via Coryanne Ettiene of Housewifebliss. Coryanne contributed this post to "Summer Is," and I've enjoyed getting to know her and Jessica through the Twitterverse.

Jessica, who lives in Connecticut, writes at The Entertaining House, and I've really enjoyed her honest posts. Plus she writes about New England summers, which I've never experience and seem oh so dreamy. I'm super excited to try the recipes (a first for the Gold Shoe Blog!)

So, without further adieu, the next installment of #Summer Is. Who will be next? Shoot me an email and let me know your answer to: "Summer Is_________________." I'm e.shawstreet (at) gmail (dot) com.

Summer is… About Turning Life’s Lemons Into a Sparkling Lemon Sangria!
By Jessica Gordon Ryan


We’re summer people. When you live in New England where winters are long, dark, cold and endless you smile when the very first bit of green pops through your soil. Though temperatures may still be in the 30s, and you most likely are bundled from head to toe, that small green stem is a promise of great things to come. We wait patiently, gently shedding one article of clothing at a time… hat, scarf, mittens, coat, eventually peeling off the jackets and sweaters so that our cheeks and shoulders can now feel the sun’s warm rays directly upon them. There is no better feeling in the world than removing shoes to feel freshly moved grass and soft sand beneath our feet and in between our toes. While our winter months are cruelly cold our summer months can be brutally hot and humid. (Perhaps so much so that we yearn to have a day where we can slide into our quilted Burberry jackets again!)

Summer, to me and my children, is about going to the beach and looking for shells and beach glass, or running through sprinklers, chasing fireflies, making S’mores, fresh ice cream and lemonade. Nothing is as refreshing as icy cold lemonade on a hot day. My boys love to make this treat. Because it is messy and sticky we do this outside on the deck. I bring out all the necessary ingredients and put the boys to work. When their masterpiece is done and ready for consumption, I send them to the sprinkler to hose off!

My children, all three, adore to cook. The older two, ages 12 and 10, are proficient in the kitchen. I think cooking is an invaluable tool and am thrilled that my children have taken to it so. Through their love of cooking my children have learned to try all sorts of new foods and ingredients, they have learned the importance of following directions and, most importantly, they see instant gratification from something they have created with their own hands. 

Because lemonade is quite high in sugar I like to dilute theirs with sparkling water or seltzer. We add mint leaves, or lemon and lime slices for garnish. This is a lovely thing to add to a summer luncheon menu as well - or spike it up for an adult evening on the beach by creating a Sparkling Lemon Sangria.

A couple of summers ago I was on both a sangria and Prosecco kick. I wondered how I could combine the two. Through trial and error I created a recipe that was loved and devoured and requested by my friends.  It seemed I was not allowed to go anywhere (cocktail party) without bringing some along or sharing the recipe.

Two years ago on July 4th my dear friend Lori asked me and my family to join them at their small club on the beach. It was a low key and relaxing night. We had plenty of food and the children ran off to play together leaving the adults to chat among themselves quietly and peacefully. They returned only for food and drink and went on their merry way. They seemed taken with their sparkling lemonade and kept returning for more. It was good and the perfect beverage to have on hand for a warm July 4th night.

After most of the pitcher had been depleted by the children (ages 4- 10) we realized, gasped, and burst out laughing at the realization that the children had enjoyed our Sparkling Lemonade Sangria! We learned two things that night. We learned that all beverages need to be properly labeled. We also learned that Tylenol works wonders on little hangovers!



Summertime Lemonade

3 Simple ingredients create a refreshing, cool treat for children and adults alike. You will need about 20 lemons, 2 cups of sugar and 4 cups of water to make 2 quarts of this summertime treat.

  1. Pour your lemonade into a large and pretty pitcher
  2. Pour water and sugar into a medium saucpan over medium heat. Sugar will melt, resulting in simple syrup.* Place simple syrup into freezer a few minutes to cool.
  3. When the syrup has cooled, combine with lemon juice and mix well.
  4. For a burst of flavor infuse with fresh mint and lemon zest.
  5. Pour lemonade into a pretty pitcher and garnish with lemon and lime wedge for additional color, or garnish with frozen blueberries and strawberries for festive flair!

*Simple syrup is a nice staple to have on hand and keeps refrigerated in an air tight jar for 3 – 4

Sparkling Lemonade Sangria

This recipe could not be easier!

1 one bottle of good Prosecco (Champagne or other sparkling wine may also be used)
1/3 Cup of Limoncello (Italian lemon liqueur)
1 Cup of lemonade (If you do not have homemade on hand I prefer Newman's Own or Simply Lemonade as these have the truest lemon flavors)

For garnish use 1 large handful of frozen raspberries or blueberries

Pour all the ingredients into a pretty large pitcher and stir very gently so as not to burst the bubbles! The berries may be served with the sangria or kept in the pitcher for flavor. Arrange pretty wine glasses or flutes around the pitcher.

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