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Taste Test: Main Squeezes

Is there an art to mixing sugar, water, and lemon or lime juice? To find out, we gulped our way through the city’s best until our lips were numb. Here’s how they rated on a scale of one to five lemons (or limes).

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Photographs by Stewart Isbell  


1. PYRAMIDA
Middle Eastern–Style Lemonade
Whole lemons, skins and all, are sliced to order, de-pithed, and tossed into a blender with sugar, water, and ice, unleashing the zest’s oil for a fantastic flavor and frothy consistency ($3.75). 401 E. 78th St., nr. First Ave.; 212-472-5855



2. ED’S LOBSTER BAR
Muddled Lemonade
This perfectly balanced lemonade could pass muster with the city’s most fastidious bar chefs. It’s muddled like a mojito, shaken vigorously, and served with the squashed lemon wedges and a sprig of mint ($5). 222 Lafayette St., nr. Spring St.; 212-343-3236



3. GRAMERCY TAVERN
Pastry-Department Limeade
Daily citrus-ade duties have always fallen to the restaurant’s pastry chef, and Nancy Olson acquits herself well with this tart and tangy concoction, served with a tiny pitcher of simple syrup for tableside tweaking ($4.50). 42 E. 20th St., nr. Park Ave. S.; 212-477-0777



4. THE SMOKE JOINT
Limonade
A mix of lemon and lime, this superb elixir bridges the gap between lemonade and limeade lovers ($2.50; combined with iced tea, it’s called a Tiger Woods). 87 S. Elliott Pl., nr. Lafayette Ave., Fort Greene, Brooklyn; 718-797-1011



5. BIRDBATH
Farmer’s Lemonade
Like a liquid Creamsicle but better and tarter, it’s a kooky mix of the house lemonade with Ronnybrook Farm Dairy cream ($3.50). 145 Seventh Ave. S., nr. Charles St.



6. FRANNY’S
Fizzy Limeade
It’s the only pizza parlor in town—or at least Brooklyn—where it makes sense to order a cocktail, so it’s no surprise that the spritzy limeade is so deliciously bitter ($3.50). 295 Flatbush Ave., nr. Prospect Pl., Prospect Hts., Brooklyn; 718-230-0221



7. KEENS
Steakhouse Limeade
Because a good steakhouse is a quirky steakhouse. Luger’s has its bacon appetizer and peevish waiters, and Keens its mutton chop and this excellent limeade ($4). 72 W. 36th St., nr. Sixth Ave.; 212-947-3636



8. WESTVILLE AND WESTVILLE EAST
Blended Mint Lemonade
This honey-sweetened version looks like a giant wheatgrass Slushee, but tastes a whole lot better ($4). 210 W. 10th St., nr. Bleecker St., 212-741-7971; and 173 Ave. A, at 11th St., 212-677-2033



9. BABYCAKES NYC
Sugar-Free Lemonade
Freshly squeezed lemons, filtered water, and organic agave nectar make it just sweet enough. Pair with a nice gluten-free brownie, and thank us later ($3.50). 248 Broome St., nr. Orchard St.; 212-677-5047


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