The Pioneer Woman and Real Simple both offer good classic lemonade recipes that pack perfectly balanced flavors with just the right amount of sweetness to balance the bright, tart lemon flavor. Real Simple also provides several variations that allow you to make an easy change to this classic beverage.
To make The Pioneer Woman's lemonade, begin by combining 6 cups of water and 4 cups of sugar in a saucepan. Heat it over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until the sugar dissolves. Transfer the liquid to an airtight container and place it in the refrigerator to cool. Meanwhile, juice 24 lemons into a large pitcher. For the smoothest lemonade, strain the freshly squeezed lemon juice through a fine mesh sieve to remove the pulp. Chill the lemon juice, if desired. Add approximately 3/4 of the cooled syrup and 8 extra cups of water to the lemon juice. Stir the mixture and taste it. Add more syrup, if desired before serving the lemonade over ice.
Real Simple suggests some easy variations on classic lemonade, including a thyme and lime twist. To make it, add 10 sprigs of fresh thyme and 1/4 cup fresh lime juice to a pitcher. Use a wooden spoon to mash the thyme and mix it with the lemon juice. Pour in 3 cups of lemonade and stir the mixture. Refrigerate it for at least one hour before serving it to allow the flavors to combine.