Sweet Lemon Water

Summer is almost here, and yummy, cold drinks are perfect to beat the heat.  Sweet Lemon Water is one of my favorites, and my go-to drink to serve at any BBQ, party, or gathering.  It’s incredibly simple to put together, refreshingly light, and absolutely delicious!

Sweet Lemon Water | oldsaltfarm.com

 You may be thinking, lemon water?  Really?  How is this different from regular ice water with sliced lemons in it?  Well, I’m going to tell you.  ☺ It all starts with mixing sugar in with ice cold water, and letting it dissolve, then adding lemon extract for the lemon-y flavor and then…the secret ingredient.

Have you heard of citric acid? It’s used a lot in canning tomatoes as a replacement for lemon juice, and it provides just the right amount of “sparkle” to this recipe.  It brings it up a notch from plain water, but isn’t carbonated or “spicy” as my kids call it.  You can find it at health food stores, and even large retail stores like Ace Hardware and Walmart. Make sure you get food grade citric acid–I like the one by Ball, intended for canning.

 I got this recipe years and years ago from a dear friend who served it at a church function, and it has been one of my very favorites ever since. It’s also very inexpensive to make, which makes it great for serving to large groups.  It’s also very versatile–it works for the most casual of get togethers, and also for events that are more on the fancy side.

I like to add fresh mint to the pitcher or beverage container, and if I’m filling jars (or glasses) ahead of time, I always add a little to each individual jar. It gives it an additional depth of flavor that really gives it “oomph”.

Sweet Lemon Water | oldsaltfarm.com

All the ingredients can be altered to taste.  This recipe is on the sweeter side, so if you like things less sweet, I’d start with a little less sugar and add from there.

Sweet Lemon Water {Simply Kierste}

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Kierste Wade | Old Salt Farm


  • 3 quarts water
  • 2 quarts ice
  • 2 c. sugar
  • 1 tsp. food grade citric acid
  • 2 tsp. lemon extract
  • lemons
  • fresh mint


  • In a large pitcher, dissolve the sugar in the water. Add the citric acid and lemon water and stir well. You may adjust ingredients to taste! Add ice, then garnish with lemon slices and fresh mint.
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  1. we’ve made this at each of my daughters weddings. It’s a requested favorite. We love to get Sonic’s ice for it. That’s the key ingredient we feel. Lots of ice.

    1. Oh man, that’s a great idea to get ice from Sonic’s!!! YUM!!!!! Ice really is key, you’re right!!!

    2. Glad to hear it was a hit at weddings. I was just thinking it looked like a good idea for my double reception coming up. Yay! One decision down.

      1. I’m so glad I could help get one decision down!!! :) I got this recipe from Jeana, years ago–it’s wonderful!

  2. another awesome lemon recipe to add to the list. we cant get enough lemon here! and i tried the lemon bread you posted a while back….it was delish!! but it stuck to the pans both times and came out ripped apart, not very appealing for looks but it was only around a day anyway :)

    1. I’m sorry that happened with the lemon bread!! Try greasing and flouring it really well—it should help.

  3. Hello! I can’t find your delicious lemon water recipe. Of course, here is the awesome post, but the recipe isn’t showing. Do I need to do something to get it to download? I’ve made it before and so bummed I didn’t print it up then. Can you share with me…again?? You are my favorite!!
    Sharon :)

    1. Sharon, I can’t believe I missed this! I’m so sorry! It’s probably way too late now, lol, but I’ll look it up and see if I can figure out why it isn’t showing.

    1. it’s up and running now–there was a glitch, but the recipe is now on the post. xoxo

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