Few things are as easy to pull off in the kitchen as a glass of lemonade. You only need four ingredients: lemons, sugar, ice and water. The trick, though, is to use just the right amount of each and make a proper “mash” by pouring sugar over thin slices of lemon. A one-lemon-per-person ratio works pretty well—or start with a dozen and three cups of extra-fine granulated sugar. You’ll get the most out of your fruit with a potato masher or wooden spoon, pounding the sugarcoated slices until they’re broken and the sugar is dissolved. For a twist, add fresh mint leaves—and while you are at it, a little rum wouldn’t hurt. For something even bolder, try basil leaves. Make it a cocktail by stirring in a mellow, lemon-infused vodka like Ketel One Citroen and serving it in a sugar-rimmed martini glass. If you’re concerned about sugar consumption, cut back on it in your mash and make a batch of simple syrup (one part water and one part sugar, boiled and cooled) to serve on the side. That way, you and your guests can go as sweet or sour as the cuisine—or the mood—dictates.