Lemonade is one of those things that just seems to scream for sugar. Most “diet” lemonades I’ve tried just aren’t very good. I think I’ve finally hit on a sugar-free lemonade that I’d actually drink on a regular basis.
The sweetener I use in this lemonade is stevia. I’ve tried flavored liquid stevia in the past (see my recipe for Almond Truffles) and it worked well. However, I have mixed feelings about using stevia. On one hand, it comes from a plant and is, in a sense, a “natural” sweetener. On the other hand, you can’t really extract its sweetness without processing it, so is it truly natural?
Stevia can have a somewhat bitter taste too. I learned recently that brands of stevia vary wildly and, if you can find a brand high in steviosides (the sweetness component), you will greatly reduce the bitterness. How you figure this out isn’t quite clear. I guess the brand I tried this time had more steviosides than ones I’ve tried in the past because I liked it this time. (Or maybe it was just my mood.)
A little more than 1/3 cup powdered stevia was the right amount for me in this sugar-free lemonade recipe. Your stevia may be more or less sweet than mine, so you may need to make adjustments. If you use liquid stevia extract, start with 1/2 to 3/4 teaspoon and tailor it from there.
I used lemon thyme because that’s what is currently thriving in my herb garden. I’m sure other varieties of thyme (or rosemary) would work equally well. If I can ever find myself a stevia plant, I’m going to try steeping the stevia leaves along with the thyme and see how that works. You can’t get more natural than that.
This sugar-free lemonade would be great to serve at a summer picnic.
Have you tried stevia? What did you think? Do you have a favorite brand?
Sugar-Free Lemonade with Thyme
- 4 cups water divided
- 6 tablespoons stevia powdered
- 10 sprigs fresh thyme or lemon thyme plus additional for garnish
- 2 cups fresh lemon juice from about 10 large lemons
- Lemon slices for garnish optional
Place 2 cups of water and stevia in a small saucepan. Bring to a simmer over medium heat and stir until the stevia dissolves. Add thyme sprigs, cover and turn off heat.
When thyme mixture has cooled to room temperature, strain into a pitcher filled with ice cubes. Stir in remaining 2 cups of water and lemon juice.
Serve in ice-filled glasses and garnish with thyme sprigs and lemon slices, if desired.
One serving of this lemonade has more than 70% of your recommended daily value of Vitamin C.