Twists on A Northern Michigan Summer Main Squeeze

These kicked-up lemonade recipes are as worthy of a traditional picnic as they are simply perfect for transforming a warm afternoon with a good book into your own private fête.

Rhubarb Lemonade

Rhubarb or “pieplant” is often used as fruit, but it’s actually a member of the buckwheat family and so, a vegetable. Rhubarb thrives in cool, damp, Northern climates, and our Northern Michigan rhubarb is at its peak in June. Celerylike stalks of rhubarb are prized for their tart flavor for use in pies, tarts, sauces and beverages. Try this sparkly summertime tonic, perfect for sipping on the front porch.


3 cups fresh or frozen rhubarb chopped

¼ cup sugar

6 ounce can frozen pink lemonade

3 cups water

16 ounces diet lemon-lime soda


Place rhubarb, sugar, lemonade and water in medium saucepan. Cook 10 minutes or until rhubarb is soft. Mash rhubarb and strain to get all the juice out. Refrigerate syrup. Mix syrup and a bottle of lemon lime soda and serve.

Rosemary Lemonade

A refreshing and intriguing summer sipper.


1 ½ cups sugar

6 sprigs rosemary

Pinch salt

Zest from 2 lemons

1 ½ cups freshly squeezed lemon juice

8 cups water, one reserved for sugar mixture


Combine sugar, 1 cup water, 3 sprigs rosemary, salt, and lemon zest in a saucepan and bring to boil, stirring to dissolve sugar. Cook at least 10 minutes at medium heat to infuse flavors. Strain rosemary and lemon peel and discard. Cool the sugar mixture. Stir it with the fresh lemon juice and the remaining water and garnish with remaining 3 sprigs. Serve over ice. Makes about 10 servings.

Maple Lemonade


1 lemon, juiced

3 tablespoons pure Michigan maple syrup

dash cayenne pepper


Pour the lemon juice into a 10-ounce glass. Add maple syrup and cayenne pepper, if desired. Fill with ice water. Stir well. Drink.

These recipes are also featured in the July 2013 issue of Traverse, Northern Michigan’s Magazine. Get your copy today!