I was introduced to this lovely concoction at a Lebanese restaurant in Phoenix several years ago. It was nothing more than plain lemonade with a touch of rosewater essence, but it was amazing how that simple addition gave such character to the drink. It added a mild, pleasant floral taste and aroma to the drink that perfectly complimented the tartness of the lemons and the sweetness of the sugar. Since then I have created a recipe for rosewater lemonade and make it often. Most of my friends who have tried this drink love it, however a few think the rosewater makes the lemonade taste like soap. Try it for yourself and see!
(A note on ingredients : Rosewater essence is rather cheap and can be purchased at Middle Eastern food markets and from online stores. A small bottle will go a long way.)
To make homemade rosewater lemonade:
Mix the lemon juice and sugar in a large container or pitcher until the sugar has dissolved. Add the water and stir thoroughly. Taste and add more sugar if desired. Add the rosewater essence to your desired strength. I start with half a tablespoon and add more if needed. Be careful, as too much essence will cause the rose flavor to overwhelm the other flavors in the lemonade. Chill well before serving.
You can also mix up a pitcher of frozen concentrated lemonade instead of using fresh lemons. Start with a half tablespoon of essence and add more as desired. Additionally, you can combine about half a teaspoon of rosewater essence with a tall glass of lemonade for a single serving.
This lemonade can be served with almost any meal, but it best complements the spices of Middle Eastern dishes such as kabobs and falafel as well as various Indian dishes. Enjoy!