Spiced Lemonade – A Retro Recipe Test

Posted on Feb 29 2012 - 6:40am by RetroRuth

Guess what I got in the mail?!?!?


That’s right! Lemons!

Sara in AZ, my fellow writer from No Pattern Required, recently sent me an enormous box of the biggest lemons I have ever seen in my life.

And we all know what to do when life (or Sara) gives us lemons, don’t we?

That’s right, we make lemonade.


And, if it’s the Mid-Century Menu, you make Spiced Lemonade.

a la Rector002

This recipe is from a fantastic book I just picked up, a la Rector: Unveiling the Culinary Mysteries of the world-famous George Rector. I have to say I am really pumped about this book. And not in my usual “look-how-disgusting-this-looks” way, but in a “I-can’t-believe-I-found-a-piece-of-culinary-history” way. George Rector was actually a world-famous chef (it’s not just lip service on the book!) during the 1930’s who cooked for scads of celebrities and famous people of his day. He is also really well known for his salads, and I am very excited to try out the dressing recipes in this book.

But I digress.


And Tom totally deserves the props for making this one. Seriously!! We were getting ready to have dinner guests and I was running around like a chicken with my head cut off, screaming for ironed napkins or whatever I had decided the dinner party needed at the last minute. Tom graciously responded to my screeching by starting the syrup for the lemonade.


Not that he didn’t complain about it. But I couldn’t hear him over my own panicking, so this time his complaining really did fall on deaf ears.


Look at those lemons! I swear some of them were the size of grapefruit.


But, after everything died down and our guests left, we were still had some lemonade to try.


Some really, really good lemonade, as it turns out.


I really have to start making videos. It was great to watch him drain the glass in one gulp.

The Verdict: Really good. Different from usual lemonade. I totally didn’t think that cloves and cinnamon would be good partners with lemon, but it seriously was amazing. Tom liked his with ginger ale, since it was a bit sweeter, but I liked the kind made with plain water since I like a little bit of pucker in my lemonade.

And yes, that is a guy with a lemon head on Tom’s shirt!

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I love everything retro, vintage, mid-century, kitsch and all things atomic! A 21st century housewife just trying to fit in...to the 50's. I have a passion for vintage recipes and an enormous vintage cookbook collection that I keep testing, even though by now I should know better. Creator of Mid-Century Menu (www.midcenturymenu.com), No Pattern Required (www.nopatternrequired.com), and I Ate The 80's (www.iatethe80s.com).

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25 Comments so far. Feel free to join this conversation.

  1. Sara In AZ February 29, 2012 at 9:50 am - Reply

    Eeeeeeeee!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! YAY!!! The lemons were good! SO glad your lemonade worked out so well. Maybe next time we can figure out a lemon pie recipe for you that does not involve pasteurized eggs! 🙂

    • RetroRuth February 29, 2012 at 11:26 am - Reply

      I already have a lead on a different lemon dessert…will have to do some more research before I unveil it, though. 🙂

  2. Eartha Kitsch February 29, 2012 at 10:03 am - Reply

    That looks AMAZING! Wow, Sara has a pool AND lemon trees? She’s living the movie star life.

    • Sara In AZ February 29, 2012 at 10:56 am - Reply

      HA! Well, I think it’s like some kind of law here in AZ that every house have at least one fruit tree AND a pool! 😉

    • RetroRuth February 29, 2012 at 11:27 am - Reply

      I know, right!?!?! 🙂 Living in luxury while the rest of us sit around not swimming…

      • Sara In AZ February 29, 2012 at 11:34 am - Reply

        Feel free, Eartha and Ruth, to come over and use the pool anytime y’all want to! I know it’s a little far, but just think of all that great lemonade you both can have when you arrive! 🙂

  3. Erica February 29, 2012 at 10:23 am - Reply

    Buzz is a huge fan of homemade lemonade (and rightly so it is awesome stuff) so we will certainly be making this. Very cool!

    • RetroRuth February 29, 2012 at 11:28 am - Reply

      Nice! Can’t wait to hear about it. 🙂

  4. Andrea February 29, 2012 at 12:06 pm - Reply

    Hehe, did Tom intentionally coordinate his shirt? That’s too funny!

    • RetroRuth March 6, 2012 at 10:33 am - Reply

      He did! Such a goof… 🙂

  5. roadsidewonders February 29, 2012 at 12:35 pm - Reply

    Yes, Tom needs his own YouTube channel for all of his “tastings” 🙂

    • RetroRuth March 6, 2012 at 10:33 am - Reply

      Oh man, one more thing that I need to keep up with. 🙂 But yes, I totally agree, he really, really does…

  6. Barb in AZ February 29, 2012 at 9:23 pm - Reply

    Good…I have a great recipe to use!!! Now can I send all our oranges to you too??? We have a cocktail tree..limes in the fall, oranges in the winter and lemons in the summer all on the same tree..so which would you like? 🙂

    • RetroRuth March 6, 2012 at 10:32 am - Reply

      Ha ha!! I’ll take anything, Barb! And I am totally jealous of your cocktail tree.

  7. Maggie March 2, 2012 at 1:18 am - Reply

    huh..interesting…the quote i’m familiar with is “When life gives you lemons, just say ‘F*ck the lemons,’ and bail”

    but i do want to try this recipe, how bout you come visit and make it for me?

    • RetroRuth March 6, 2012 at 10:32 am - Reply

      Hey, you buy our plane tickets and we will be there. 🙂

  8. Jeff March 7, 2012 at 8:14 pm - Reply

    Sold! Just got me a copy of a la Rector on eBay!

    • RetroRuth March 8, 2012 at 3:09 pm - Reply

      Nice!!!! It’s great. I am actually really excited for you! Ahhh, vicarious cookbook finds… 🙂

  9. Malia April 19, 2013 at 2:41 pm - Reply

    I love your site! I had never felt compelled to comment until I saw Tom’s Lemongrab shirt! Love it! My compliments to the chef, and her taster. 🙂

  10. Senpei-senpei November 13, 2013 at 8:49 pm - Reply

    His shirt is from Adventure Time, an all-engulfing childrens’ cartoon about the world after the apocalypse, where it’s implied that the princess of candy (who is also a necromancer and mad scientist) may have had a prior relations with the queen of vampires, but the vampire queen’s father figure (and king of ice) is pretty much constantly kidnapping almost all princesses of legal age so he can marry them. The main characters are a boy and a talking dog, of which the boy is supposedly the only surviving human.

  11. Jason March 28, 2014 at 4:56 pm - Reply

    Love the site and love the Adventure Time shirt Tom is wearing. When I was growing up my grandfather had a Ponderosa Lemon tree. Year after year that thing produced lemons that were upwards of 9lbs! One would think these thing were awful but they produced some of the best juice you have ever had. Sadly after he passed away my grandmother moved and the tree passed out of the family.

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