Fresh Strawberry Lemonade

INGREDIENTS:

1 cup sugar
2 cups water
1 tablespoon grated lemon peel
1 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice  
1 pint fresh strawberries, hulled and halved or (or 1 pint raspberries)
2 cups cold sparkling water or club soda
Whole strawberries, mint sprigs for garnish

METHOD:

In a small saucepan, combine sugar and water. Bring mixture to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat and simmer, stirring occasionally, until the sugar dissolves. Remove from heat.

Stir in grated lemon peel to sugar-water mixture. Allow to cool.

In a blender, combine the lemon juice and strawberries (or raspberries) and blend until berries are puréed.

Pour sugar and lemon peel mixture through fine mesh strainer into pitcher. Add fruit and lemon juice mixture and stir well to combine. Refrigerate until well chilled.

Just before serving:

Add the sparkling water and stir well. Pour over glasses filled with ice and serve. Garnish with whole strawberries and mint sprigs, if desired.

YIELD: 4 servings