Fresh Mint Lemonade

6 large lemons, sliced thinly
1 small bunch fresh mint, stems trimmed
1 1/4 cups sugar
3 cups water
1/2 cups fresh lemon juice

Roll the lemons vigorously on the kitchen counter or cutting board to soften them before slicing. Then add lemon slices, mint, 1 cup of sugar and 1/2 cup lemon juice in a large bowl and mash until juicy, about 3 to 5 minutes. Place this mixture in a sieve over another large bowl and press firmly on the solids to extract as much pulp and liquid as possible. Add 2 cups of water and remaining 1/4 cup of sugar to bowl and stir until sugar dissolves. Fill a pitcher with ice and pour the lemonade over letting stand for a few minutes to chill (in the refrigerator is best to prevent over diluting).

Serve in tall glasses filled with ice. Garnish with mint if desired.

Yield: 4 to 6 servings