Saffron Lemonade

Saffron Lemonade Recipe

This is actually saffron limeade. I got this recipe from my husband. His family has been making this drink for many years. Lemonades and limeades provide a wonderful canvas upon which other flavors can be layered.

The addition of saffron to the drink imparts a luxurious fragrance and flavor, as well as an exotic orange-yellow tint. Saffron is a spice derived from the saffron crocus. Saffron is comprised of the stigma and style (stalk) of the plant, and it's the most expensive spice in the world.

If you're looking for something special to serve at a summer lunch or barbeque, saffron limeade would be the perfect choice. Consider pairing it with Spanish paella, where saffron is also used in the preparation of the rice.


Yields: 8

6 cups water, + extra for saffron
3-1/2 cups superfine sugar, to taste
2 cups lime juice, freshly squeezed
2 quarts ice cubes
1 teaspoon saffron threads


In a deep pan, bring the water to a full boil. Set aside.

In a sauce pan, melt the sugar without any water over high heat. It's important to carefully watch the sugar; as soon as the edges of the pan start caramelizing, immediately lower the heat to medium-low. Gently jiggle the saucepan in circles. Do not use a spoon! Lower the heat to the lowest setting when there are only a few remaining non-caramelized pieces. Don't let the sugar get dark brown or you'll get a burnt taste.

When all the sugar is an amber color, remove from the heat, pause for about a minute (be careful of splattering when the water is added), then slowly add the boiling water. Simmer the liquid until all the caramel is dissolved.

In a mortar and pestle, grind 3/4 teaspoon of saffron threads into a fine powder. Add the saffron to the sweetened liquid. Add about 1/2 cup of water into the mortar and pestle to gather the possible remaining of saffron powder. (Saffron is quite pricey, don't waste it!). Pour the saffron liquid to the sweetened liquid. Let it cool completely. Add the lime juice. Garnish with the remaining saffron threads. Stir well.

Serve over ice in pretty glasses.

It's so refreshing!



I prefer using superfine sugar. It's a fine-grained sugar and it dissolves much more quickly than the regular kind.

Saffron is quite expensive; I usually get it at a more reasonable price at the Indian market. Indian cuisine often calls for the use of saffron.

Saffron Limeade

Saffron Lemonade Recipe

I like making the caramel first to give a nice amber color to the drink. If you don't mind a lighter color, just make simple syrup by dissolving the sugar in about 2-1/2 cups of water; bring to a boil and simmer for about 2 minutes. It will have the consistency of syrup but with a clear color.

Published By: Jacqueline Pham on September 2, 2009.


[-] Saffron Lemonade - Guest-Parita
A very different lemonade! sounds refreshing!

Parita Website Link
[ Posted at 3:26 AM on 9/3/09 | Reply ]
[-] love this idea - Guest-OysterCulture
I love this idea, and never would have thought of it. I can imagine how refreshing it is. I think I have that same brand of Saffron too. Got it in the UK. Thanks so much for sharing. I love lemonade and limeade as a base, and find them incredibly versatile.

OysterCulture Website Link
[ Posted at 11:33 AM on 9/3/09 | Reply ]
[-] Saffron Lemonade - Guest-IrinaPastryPal
You always make the most interesting drink combinations. I love the idea of using a caramel as a sweetener instead of just simple syrup. It must add a lot of dimension.

Irina@PastryPal Website Link
[ Posted at 11:56 AM on 9/3/09 | Reply ]
[-] Saffron Lemonade - Guest-PaigeatTheSpiceHouse
Wow, what an interesting idea! I have family in Kansas where I swear limeade is the official state beverage, but I never thought of it as an upscale option. I'll have to give this a try. Also, I use that same kind of Spanish saffron, and it's wonderful. By far the most fragrant brand available in the US. Did you know it takes about 75,000 crocuses to get a pound of saffron?

Paige at The Spice House Website Link
[ Posted at 1:39 PM on 9/3/09 | Reply ]
[-] Saffron - Jackie
no wonder why it's so expensive
[ Posted at 4:25 PM on 9/3/09 | Reply ]
[-] Saffron Lemonade - Guest-Eralda
Beautiful! What great flavor combinations.

Eralda Website Link
[ Posted at 2:22 PM on 9/3/09 | Reply ]
[-] Saffron Lemonade - Guest-kissmyspatula
ohhhh, i make limeade all the time during these summer months and i'm excited to try your new twist! thank you!

{kiss my spatula} Website Link
[ Posted at 5:49 PM on 9/3/09 | Reply ]
[-] Saffron Lemonade - Guest-peachkins
it looks refreshing all right...

peachkins Website Link
[ Posted at 10:23 PM on 9/3/09 | Reply ]
[-] Julia @ Mélanger - Guest-JuliaMlanger
Saffron. In lemonade? Wow, that's so unusual. I must admit I don't use that beautiful spice too frequently. Looks like a very special recipe indeed!

Julia @ Mélanger Website Link
[ Posted at 1:36 AM on 9/4/09 | Reply ]
[-] Saffron Lemonade - Guest-Sophie
MMMMMM,...what an apart & refreshing & lovely drink!! That is original!!

Musttaste sublime too!

Sophie Website Link
[ Posted at 9:14 AM on 9/4/09 | Reply ]
[-] Intriguing - Guest-JoanNova
I'm curious enough to try it one day. Very interesting.

Joan Nova Website Link
[ Posted at 12:01 PM on 9/7/09 | Reply ]
[-] the spice spoon - Guest-shayma
beautiful recipe- saffron in a lemonade- i would have never thought of it- but it seems to work! all your photos are clear and crisp. a pleasure to have stumbled upon your website.

shayma Website Link
[ Posted at 4:52 AM on 1/26/10 | Reply ]

Order my latest book:
Banh Mi

Related Posts


Recent Posts

15 Fall Dessert Recipes for Dinner Parties
15 Fall Dessert Recipes for Dinner Parties
Soyrizo Mushroom Patties
Soyrizo Mushroom Patties
Mango Salsa Appetizers
Mango Salsa Appetizers
Turkey Noodle Stir Fry Recipe
Turkey Noodle Stir Fry Recipe