1 cup sugar
1 cup water - for the simple syrup
1 cup fresh squeezed lemon juice
3 to 4 cups cold water to dilute
Make simple syrup by heating the sugar and water in a small saucepan, until the sugar is dissolved completely. While the sugar is dissolving, use a juicer to extract the juice from 4 to 6 lemons, enough for one cup of juice. *Hint* If you roll your lemons one at a time, on the counter back and forth, while applying gentle pressure with the palm of your hand, your lemons will produce more juice* Add the juice and the sugar water to the pitcher. Add 3 to 4 cups of cold water, more or less to the desired strength. Add ice and fresh slices of lemon and you're ready to go! Super easy!
*Tips about heating lemons to produce more juice*
But be careful: If you heat a lemon too much, it may burst and spew lemon juice all over your microwave oven. Or worse yet, an over-heated lemon might NOT burst, but rather just sit quietly, waiting for you to 'pop' it. Once your knife pierces its skin, it bursts and spews hot lemon juice all over YOU! (BTW: If this does happen, as with other mild burns you can lessen the damage by putting ice on the burn immediately.)
For best results use lemons at room temperature, or even slightly warmed up in the microwave. Lemons will be much easier to squeeze and will yield the most juice.You could even let them stand in a bowl of very hot water for about 10 minutes before squeezing them.