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Tuesday 21 August 2012

When Life Throws You Lemons...

This time two years ago there was no better way to while away a slightly hungover sunny afternoon in Hong Kong than on the South side of the Island, spending a lazy lunch eating mountains of food and then dozing it off on the beach. These days though the South side beachy restaurant is a dying breed. Slowly but surely there's been a clamp down on all the alfresco joints, from the beach bar at South Bay to my former absolute favourite languid lunch spot, Cococabana.

Although it was undoubtedly overpriced and perhaps didn't serve the best food in Hong Kong, you couldn't beat the laid-back, luxe vibe of Cococabana, nor the stunning view out over Repulse Bay but best of all was the incredible homemade rosemary lemonade. Zingy and zesty, just tart enough to make your jaw ache and with the rosemary giving it a quirky, earthy twist - we'd always guzzle at least a jug of this amazing lemonade. I swear it was a miracle hangover cure. Alternatively, if the hangover was manageable, the vodka-spiked version was an excellent way to ensure that the day would pass in a blur of high jinx and skinny dipping.

A couple of weekends ago I had a major craving for Cococabana lemonade. As the restaurant was shut down a little while ago cutting off my supply of lazy lunches and lemonade (sob, sob) I decided to have a go at recreating it myself. 

It's super delicious, incredibly simple to make and guaranteed to make you look like a total domestic goddess. The perfect refresher on a sweltering summer day or add an alcoholic kick to guarantee a raucous party (it tastes so deceptively non-alcoholic that people will be dancing on tables before you can say 'spiked'...)

Cococabana Rosemary Lemonade

(Makes 1 jug or around six large glasses)

1 cup of fresh lemon juice (around six lemons squeezed)
1 cup of sugar 
2 sprigs of rosemary
Chilled sparkling water or soda

To garnish: 1 lemon & 6 rosemary sprigs 
Optional: Icy cold vodka


  • Squeeze the lemons and strain into a small saucepan (ensuring that there are no pips in the pan!).
  • Add the sugar and rosemary sprigs to the pan and bring to the boil, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon until all the sugar has dissolved.
  • Reduce the heat to simmer and leave to gently bubble away for a couple of minutes.
  • Remove from the heat and leave to cool and steep for around an hour.
  • Remove the rosemary sprigs and you're ready to serve (alternatively you can keep the syrup in a jar in the fridge for a few days - it actually tastes better a couple of days old).
  • To serve, add two tablespoons to the bottom of a glass (add vodka to taste here if you're using it), top up with sparkling water or soda and plenty of ice. Stir really well. Garnish with slices of lemon and a sprig of rosemary.
  • Drink!

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