With the start of summer less than two weeks away, let's have a chat about lemonade. We know all too well about the allure of Hot Dog on a Stick's unnaturally red cherry lemonade. And we realize there are those who check the daily flavor offerings at the appropriately named Lemonade first so can they select their drink and then pair the entrée to go with it.

For those wondering what's next for this classic drink, Sky's Gourmet Tacos and Muma Restaurant offer lemonades that are not flavored, but melded with unique ingredients that honor the lemon drink, but also make you think of it quite differently.

At Sky's Gourmet Tacos, owner Barbara “Sky” Burrell takes fresh squeezed lemonade and pairs it with a house-made sorrel concentrate, then serves the drink in a Mason jar.

Burrell's concentrate is made from Jamaican sorrel, a type of hibiscus and starts off by gently boiling the calyces of the plant. The rich red liquid is then strained and used to create the concentrate; no sugar is added, or needed. The syrupy texture of the sorrel along with the clean tart flavor of the lemonade is the ideal drink to go with the generously spiced dishes at the restaurant and is in the works of being added to the Burrell's new Mobile Cuisine Vehicle menu.

Credit: D. Gonzalez

Credit: D. Gonzalez

Muma Restaurant also makes their lemonade in house, with no additives unless you count the jalapeño. Chile and lemon area fairly common flavor profile when it comes to snacks. But jalapeño lemonade might give most a pause. Muma uses whole jalapeños infuse the drink along with what was coyly described as “other spices.” At first, the jalapeño is just a hint. Then you realize that you can taste the lemonade all the way up in your nose, like a wasabi buzz. A couple of sips later, it starts to hit you on the back of the throat. It is a good drink to sip publicly as you stroll down Melrose.

If you are one of those lucky Angelenos who presently have access to a tree loaded with lemons, recently in her Tea and Cookies blog, Tara Austen Weaver showed how a couple of ice cube trays and a little time investment could lead to enjoyment of 'instant' lemonade all summer long. Her idea for lemon ice cubes is not new, but what makes her instructions stand out is the addition of lemon zest, which would stand up to just about any lemonade experiments one might be inspired to try at home. Got fresh herbs? Ripe stone fruit? Maybe a little mezcal? Get squeezing.

LA Weekly