Brighten up your summer sips with a splash of Lemon Cordial Concentrate -a simple mixture of lemons, water, and sugar condensed into a sweet and citrus-flavored reduction. It’s perfect for adding a blast of lemon flavor to sparkling water, lemonade, cocktails, and so much!
When life hands you lemons, make lemon cordial concentrate! It only takes a few minutes and 3-ingredients to condense old-fashioned lemon cordial flavor into a DIY concentrate.
That said, lemon cordial concentrate isn’t meant to be sipped on straight. You can either dilute it in a pitcher of water or splash a bit into any beverage to add sweet, tart, and tangy flavor!
If you’re wondering why you should make homemade lemon cordial concentrate, here are three reasons:
- It only has simple ingredients. Store-bought cordial concentrates contain artificial flavor, color, and preservatives. DIY cordial concentrates are made with real ingredients.
- It’s inexpensive. Not to mention, making it from scratch is less expensive, and it tastes better than the store-bought stuff.
- It’s great to make ahead and enjoy later. It stores well and is a handy mixer to have on hand for all of your non-alcohol drinks and cocktail needs.
Ready to learn how to make lemon cordial concentrate? Let’s do it!
A few notes about what lemon cordial concentrate is made of:
- Sugar: Granulated sugar or caster sugar, and yes, you need to use the total amount.
- Water: Use filtered or distilled water, if possible.
- Lemons: You’ll need about 8 lemons, or enough to squeeze 1 cup of lemon juice and collect 1/4 cup of lemon zest.
- Recommended tools: You’ll need a microplane grater to zest the lemons and a citrus juicer. You can use a fork to press into the lemons and squeeze out the juices in a pinch. You’ll also need a sieve to strain the liquid.
📖 How to make (step-by-step photos)
1️⃣ Step One: Zest lemons
Start by zesting your lemons. Use a microplane to zest about a 1/4 cup of lemon zest. Set the zest aside.
2️⃣ Step Two: Juice lemons
Next, juice the zested lemons until you have about a cup of lemon juice. The simplest way to do this is by rolling the lemons on a flat surface to get the juices flowing before cutting them in half and pressing the lemons in a citrus juicer.
3️⃣ Step Three: Cook cordial concentrate
Add water, sugar, freshly squeezed lemon juice, and lemon zest to a medium saucepan and bring the mixture to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer until the sugar dissolves and the liquid thickens. Remove the saucepan from the heat and let cool.
4️⃣ Step Four: Strain, store and serve
Once the concentrate cools, pour it through a sieve to catch any lemon bits. Then pour the syrup into an airtight container (see below for safe storage tips) -and that’s it! You have homemade lemon cordial concentrate to add vibrant citrus flavor to drinks and cocktails.
❔ Questions + quick tips
- A trick to get the lemon juices flowing is microwaving whole lemons for about 10 to15 seconds before juicing.
- Always zest before juicing!
- To dilute the cordial concentrate, start with 1 part concentrate to 3 parts water or soda. Give it a taste and add more if needed.
Feel free to add fresh ginger, lavender buds, fresh mint or basil leaves, vanilla bean, etc. Simmer any add-ins with the water, sugar, and lemon juice/zest. Strain out of the concentrate before storing.
Sure! Feel free to swap the lemons for limes, oranges, or grapefruits.
🥃 Lemon cordial concentrate cocktails
This lemon cordial concentrate upgrades basic mixed drinks into craft creations. Check out the list below for creative ways to use cordial concentrate in cocktails.
- Classic Lemon Cordial Cocktail – Fill a glass with ice. Add 1 1/2 ounces of vodka and 1 1/2 ounces of lemon cordial concentrate. Fill the rest of the glass with sparkling water.
- Vodka Collins – Fill a glass with ice. Add 1 1/2 ounces of vodka and 1 1/2 ounces of lemon cordial concentrate. Fill the rest of the glass with club soda.
- Tennesee Honey Cordial – Fill a glass with ice. Add 1 1/2 ounces of Jack Daniels Tennesse Honey and 1 ounce of lemon cordial concentrate. Top the glass off with lemon-lime soda.
🧊 How to store
How long does homemade cordial keep? To make the most of your homemade cordial concentrate, store it in the freezer. After cooling, you have a few options:
- Freeze in sanitized ice cube trays and then dilute a cube or two in your beverages as you please
- Freeze in a resealable bag and then dissolve it in a pitcher of water to make instant lemonade!
- Refrigerator storage: It can also be kept in a sanitized jar or glass container in the fridge for 2 to 3 weeks.
🍯 More flavored concentrates and syrups
Looking for more flavorful syrups? We’ve got you covered.
- Lemon Ginger Simple Syrup
- Orange Simple Syrup
- Pineapple GInger Syrup
- Blueberry Simple Syrup
- Lime and Cilantro-Infused Simple Syrup
Lemon Cordial Concentrate
- 1 microplane grater
- 1 citrus juicer
- 1 Saucepan
- 1 fine mesh sieve
- 8 whole lemons to make 1 cup of lemon juice and 1/4 cup of lemon zest
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 cup water filtered or distilled
- First, zest lemons using a microplane until you have about 1/4 cup lemon zest. Set aside.
- Next, juice the zested lemons until you have about 1 cup lemon juice. The easiest way to do this is to roll the lemons on a table to release their juices before cutting, then cut in half and squeeze or use a citrus juicer to release the lemon juice. You can also microwave the lemons for about 10-15 seconds before juicing.
- Add water, sugar, lemon juice, and lemon zest to a medium saucepan and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer and cook until sugar has dissolved and the water begins to thicken. Remove from heat and let cool.
- Once the lemon concentrate is cool, strain it through a sieve into a sanitized container.
- Store it in an airtight container in the fridge for up to two weeks (or freeze for up to two months).
- To serve, use a small amount of the concentrated lemon cordial in drinks like sparkling water, lemonades, or in cocktails.