Cold beer goes well with most Fourth of July fare, but for a nostalgic summer treat, lemonade fits the bill. And these Vanilla Lemon Coolers take the tart drink of your past to a whole new level – that’s why they’re a personal favorite to go with this year’s July Fourth Celebration menu.
The beverage starts with regular ol’ lemonade, so use your favorite, either homemade (try Fresh Honey Lemonade for a mild floral taste) or purchased. Then add depth of flavor with vanilla bean paste and one whole vanilla bean. You can find vanilla bean paste at most grocery stores.
Serve with thin slices of lemon and plenty of ice. Think back to childhood summer vacations and dig into that cheeseburger! Kids will love the sweet-and-sour combination – and adults, feel free to make it interesting with a splash of rum or citrus vodka.
Vanilla Lemon Coolers
4 quarts prepared lemonade
2 Tbs. vanilla paste
1 vanilla bean, split in half lengthwise
1 lemon, thinly sliced
Ice cubes for serving
Pour the lemonade into 2 large glass pitchers, dividing it evenly. Add 1 Tbs. of the vanilla paste to each pitcher and stir until dissolved. Place half of the vanilla bean in each pitcher, cover and refrigerate the lemonade for up to 8 hours before serving.
To serve, divide the lemon slices between the 2 pitchers, then add a generous amount of ice cubes to each. Using a wooden spoon, stir the mixture to combine. Serve in tall glasses. Serves 10.