6 Cups water, + extra for saffron
3-1/2 Cups superfine sugar
2 Cups lemon juice
2 quarts ice cubes
1 tsp Saffron Threads
*8 oz. Vodka may be added to make this an alcoholic drink
In small stock pot, bring the water to a full boil. Set aside.
Meanwhile, in a heavy-bottomed sauce pan on the stove, melt the sugar, without any water, over high heat. Keep a close eye on the sugar; as soon as the sugar on the edges of the pan begin to brown, immediately lower the heat to medium-low. Gently swirl the saucepan around as the sugar caramelizes. Though it seems strange, do not stir. When the sugar is almost completely browned, and there are only a few last non-caramelized bits, lower the heat to the lowest setting. The sugar should be a pleasing light amber color.
When all the sugar is all caramelized and an amber color, remove the saucepan from the heat, and allow it to sit for a minute. Slowly add the boiling water, being careful of not splattering when the water is added. Return the pan to the stove, and simmer the liquid on medium-low heat until all the caramel is dissolved.
Now, in a mortar and pestle or spice or coffee grinder, grind 3/4 tsp of saffron threads into a fine powder. Add the powdered saffron threads to the sugary mixture. Add about 1/2 Cup of water into the mortar and pestle to “soak up” any possible remaining saffron powder. (Saffron is quite precious, you don’t want to waste any of it!). Pour the saffron water into the sweetened mixture and stir to combine.
Allow this mixture to cool completely before adding the lemon juice, stirring once again to combine. Pour into a pretty serving pitcher or decanter. Garnish with the remaining saffron threads. Stir well.
We adapted this great idea from a recipe we found at beanilla.com
(makes 8 glasses)