Alcott · Little Women

Sneak Peek: Three Hebes’ Lemonade


Another sneak peek recipe from our book! I know, who needs a recipe for lemonade, right? Obviously, all you need is fresh lemon juice, sugar, and water. But I tested different ratios, and I’ve found that I like strong, tart lemonade like this one, served over lots of ice, the very best.

     Mr. Laurence and Aunt March shrugged and smiled at one another when water, lemonade, and coffee were found to be the only sorts of nectar which the three Hebes carried round. No one said anything, however, till Laurie, who insisted on serving the bride, appeared before her, with a loaded salver in his hand and a puzzled expression on his face.
     “Has Jo smashed all the bottles by accident?” he whispered, “or am I merely laboring under a delusion that I saw some lying about loose this morning?”
     “No; your grandfather kindly offered us his best, and Aunt March actually sent some, but father put away a little for Beth, and despatched the rest to the Soldiers’ Home. You know he thinks that wine should be used only in illness, and mother says that neither she nor her daughters will ever offer it to any young man under her roof.”

First Wedding


Makes 4 servings

As Mrs. S.J Hale noted in her 1839 cookbook, The Good Housekeeper, lemonade “is the best beverage for parties, cool, refreshing, pleasant and salubrious.” Perfect for Meg and John’s strictly dry wedding! Small lemons with thinner skin tend to make better, more fragrant lemonade than the larger ones with thick, nubbly rind.

  • 4 cups (1 quart) water
  • 6 lemons
  • ½ to 1 cup sugar
  • plenty of ice, for serving
  1. Measure the water into a pitcher.
  2. Roll the lemons under your hand on the counter, applying pressure with the heel of your hand. (This will break down the lemons and make them easier to juice.)
  3. Cut and squeeze the lemons into the water.
  4. Add sugar to taste, and stir thoroughly.
  5. Fill 4 glasses with ice, and pour in the lemonade.

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