Ginger Tea Lemonade

I’ve completely neglected the beverage department for a good while, which is somewhat disappointing considering that I’ve been happily sipping on this one particular drink all summer long.  But I’m here to make up for it by sharing with you the recipe for this wonderful Ginger Tea Lemonade that has kept me refreshed and hydrated throughout the scorching season.  And it’s still my non-alcoholic drink of choice stepping into fall!    
I hardly drink tea and hardly ever pay any attention to lemonade especially when it’s pink or comes in a dreadful cardboard container.  But pairing black tea with fresh lemon juice can put things in a very happy perspective!  This drink makes me want to comfortably lay by the pool at the Wynn Hotel in Las Vegas, baking under the torrid dessert sun and getting crispier by the minute, while slowly sipping this lemonade before jumping in the water to cool off.  But wait!  It was only a few days ago that I was doing just that while in Vegas!  (Except that I was actually gulping a strawberry smoothie that I’ll tell you more about another time.  But you get the idea.)
This Ginger Tea Lemonade is tea and lemonade all in one.  It’s sweet and lemony, bubbly and invigorating with a subtle spicy note from the ginger, and a full boost of energy from the black tea.  Skip the afternoon pick-me-up cup of coffee or can of soda and opt for a chilled and fizzy homemade Ginger Tea Lemonade to calm down your thirst during any season!  Cheers, everyone! 
Ginger Tea Lemonade
Adapted from Ginger Tea Lemonade by Giada De Laurentiis
Makes: 6+ servings
Ingredients for the Tea:
·         2 cups water
·         3 black tea bags
·         2/3 cup fresh lemon juice, from about 3 juicy lemons
·         Ginger Simple Syrup, ingredients and recipe follow
·         1 liter sparkling water, chilled
·         Optional: lemon slices, for garnish
Ingredients for the Ginger Simple Syrup:
·         1 cup granulated sugar
·         1 cup water
·         1 (2-inch) piece fresh ginger, peeled and chopped
Instructions for the Tea:
In a small saucepan, bring the water to a boil over high heat.  Remove the pan from the heat and add the tea bags.  Stir and allow the mixture to cool to room temperature, about 30 minutes.  Remove the tea bags and discard them. 
In a large pitcher, pour the tea mixture, lemon juice, Ginger Simple Syrup, and sparkling water.  Add the lemon slices and serve the lemonade over ice. 
Instructions for the Ginger Simple Syrup:
In a small saucepan, over medium heat, combine the sugar, water and ginger.  Bring to a boil, reduce the heat, and simmer stirring occasionally, until the sugar has dissolved, about 5 minutes.  Remove the pan from the heat and allow the syrup to cool, about 30 minutes.  Strain before using the syrup.  
Poftă Bună! (Bon Appétit!)

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