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escape from the heat

Recipe: rose water lemonade

When it’s hot in the mountains, I tend to get a little nervous. Hot, dry, and windy conditions are what we fear most in the southwestern US. We’ve been keeping an eye on the wildfires along Colorado’s Front Range, but wherever we are the red flag warnings for high fire danger are going up. To avoid the heat, Jeremy and I have been getting out in the mornings and evenings for runs, rides, and hikes around Crested Butte and holing up in the office during midday where it remains comfortably cool (no air conditioning, it’s just an incredibly well-designed house). Every trail or path or dirt road is lined with wildflowers. They are coming along nicely pretty much everywhere.


northern fairy candelabra – i absolutely love these tiny little flowers

prairie smoke

sunset over mount crested butte

lupine on an evening hike

my favorites are the deep purple lupine

western wallflower



As some of you know, I am obsessed with keeping cool in summer (or any time) because I really dislike the heat. That’s why I like the mountains – because it’s cooler. But even the mountains can get those handful of days when the heat feels unbearable. Typically, I’ll cool down by drinking plenty of ice water, but occasionally I love me a fruity and refreshing drink. Last October, Ellen hosted a girls’ weekend down in Colorado Springs and took us to Uchenna for wonderful Ethiopian fare. I sampled the rose water lemonade and it had a remarkable cooling effect on me. My mind has wandered back to that lovely meal several times since, but I’ve been craving the rose water lemonade with the hotter weather.

rose water and lemons

to make rose water lemonade: sugar, rose water, lemons, pinch of salt



My rose water was in the spice section of my local Whole Foods store. If you can’t source rose water where you are, I’m sure you can order it online. I like to start with a simple syrup because it dissolves all of the sugar and mixes the sweetness more evenly in the lemonade. Do this step ahead of time enough so that it can cool to room temperature (or at least lukewarm) when you mix it with the lemon juice. Also, I juiced four large lemons to get a 1 cup yield of juice. That’s just a guideline, it will vary with lemon size, juiciness, and the efficiency of your juicer.

combine sugar and water to make the simple syrup

fresh-squozen lemon juice



When the simple syrup is cooled and your lemon juice is ready, you are mere seconds away from your rose lemonade. Combine the simple syrup and lemon juice and add water until the lemonade is to your liking. Even if you like rose-flavored food and drink, I suggest starting with a tablespoon of rose water and seeing how it suits your fancy. I like rose-flavored foodstuffs, and yet I felt one tablespoon was plenty. Jeremy thought it tasted like soap (then again, he thinks anything with heavy floral notes tastes like soap).

water, simple syrup, lemon juice, rose water, salt, and a pitcher

add water until the lemonade is just right

and some rose water



You don’t have to serve this over ice, but I do because I love ice. I grew up in the South. I.LOVE.ICE. If you do pour the rose water lemonade on ice, I suggest leaving the lemonade a wee bit stronger than you would otherwise. That way, when the ice melts and dilutes the beverage, it won’t get too watered down.

stir it together

pour over ice

garnish as you please



And there you have a most refreshing drink to transport you from the heat of summer (and we’re not even officially in summer yet). Stay cool out there!

it’s enough to take your mind off of the heat



Rose Water Lemonade
[print recipe]
inspired by Uchenna in Colorado Springs

6 cups water
2/3 cups sugar
1 cup lemon juice, fresh squeezed
1/2 tsp salt
1-2 tbsps rose water (I used 1 tbsp)

Place 2 cups of water and the sugar in a small saucepan and bring to a boil. Stir until the sugar is dissolved. Remove the simple syrup from the heat and let cool. Mix the lemon juice, salt, and cooled simple syrup together. Add remaining water to taste. If you plan to serve over ice, then you might want to leave the lemonade a little stronger. Stir in a tablespoon of rose water. If it isn’t strong enough for your tastes, then stir in a little more. Serve over ice. Makes 2 quarts.


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18 nibbles at “escape from the heat”

  1. Angie says:

    Sounds delicious! By the way, how do you get the most juice out of the lemons- by hand or electric juicer?

  2. Vicky says:

    Looks amazing! :)
    Definitely going to try this out and add to our lemonade repertoire. I’ve been on a strawberry lemonade kick lately. (Macerated strawberries topped off with lemonade and sprite!)

  3. jenyu says:

    Angie – I use a braun citromatic juicer or some such thing. Cost me $16 about 15 years ago :)

  4. Rocky Mountain Woman says:

    That looks perfect!

    We are getting worried about fire here also….

    stay safe…

  5. Linda says:

    I’m so glad to hear that you, Jeremy and Kaweah are still okay. I have been thinking of/worrying about you all ever since the fires started. Pleae keep us posted on your safety!

    Like you, heat and I are NOT friends. When someone says it’s “nice and hot” I tell them those two words should never go together in a sentence! The lemonade looks lovely and cool.

    Take care and stay safe.

    xo Linda

  6. Magda says:

    I’ve been making rose-water lemonade for years only I make it with honey. It’s so flavorful.

    Love yours!!

  7. farmerpam says:

    Loving the photos. Keep ’em coming! Thanks.

  8. Kristin says:

    Mmmmm…my daughter & I are big rosewater and lemonade fans. Definitely going to try this one! Hoping the fires are over soon for everyone’s sakes.

  9. Binsy says:

    Hi Jen,
    Have you every tried putting a slice of fresh ginger in your lemonade? It is awesome. This is how we do it: wash and cut up whole lemon (including rind) into chunks; put lemon, water, ice, fresh ginger into blender; puree and strain; add sugar and salt to taste. We always put salt in and it makes a huge difference! Try it out.

  10. Chef V says:

    Jen, hope you are no where near those fires! Be safe all!

  11. jill says:

    The purple anything is always my favorite! Glad you are enjoying your sanctuary!

  12. Ellen says:

    It is high time for more Uchenna!

  13. ARC says:

    One of our Creath Family Summer Fun List items is to Make Lemonade. I wonder if I could convince T that adding rose water is a good idea. She just might go for it. :)

  14. Kristin says:

    Made it…yum! Served it to a dinner guest & it took her quite by surprise. A bit tarter than she was used to, but she liked it too.

  15. jenyu says:

    Vicky – I love strawberry lemonade too :)

    Rocky Mountain Woman – Hope you are staying safe too, friend!

    Linda – ha ha, I agree with the “nice and hot” sentiment ;) Thanks for the good wishes. We are welcoming the summer rains with more relief than most!

    Magda – I’ll try honey next! Thanks!

    farmerpam – thank you!

    Kristin – thanks, my dear xo

    Binsy – sounds good. I like ginger syrup with lime juice and fizzy water, so this sounds great too. Thanks for the tip.

    Chef V – sadly, it’s a reality for Colorado mountain residents. But thanks! We can use all the good wishes you can muster! xo

    jill – thanks! xxoo

    Ellen – yes it is, dear friend. Yes it is.

    ARC – try a little glass first? :)

    Kristin – you can always adjust the sugar and water to reduce the tartness of the lemonade, but I’m glad she liked it :)

  16. D Smith says:

    I’m a guy and I like rosewater mixed with my water, but I use about maybe 1-2 teaspoons in my 64oz thermos (nothing else added – not even sweetener). I can only imagine what it would taste like if I used more like in your recipe. For me, I think the rose flavor would be too strong. Maybe Jeremy would like it better if you used a few drops of rosewater instead.

  17. Gabby says:

    Hi! I love this recipe, can you tell me what brand of rose water did you use? I will highly appreciate it

  18. jenyu says:

    Gabby – it’s in the photo, but you probably can’t read the label. It’s Nielsen-Massey.

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