Simple Pleasures

FrenchVillageCafeHaving a lemon tree I can’t help but think about France, and there are a few American things (I have to use my imagination) that can put me at a sidewalk café, mid-afternoon, for a pause and some people-watching. One of them is citron pressé.

Some say citron pressé is just a fancy French name for lemonade, but, I disagree. Citron pressé is made to order, by the glass rather than the pitcher. Order this drink at any café in France, and the waiter will bring you a tall glass filled with ice and the juice of a freshly squeezed lemon. Alongside your glass you’ll receive a carafe of cold water, and one, maybe two, sugars. You adjust the water and sugar to taste.

The first time I had citron pressé I was visiting my friend Karen.  It was August 1992 and she was living in Geneva. We had crossed the French border to Annecy. We had spent the afternoon walking around the old city and it was time for a pause. It was humid and I ordered a citron pressé and I was immediately intrigued because I happen to like a tart taste.

Because it is so tart, you have to sip it, which makes the taste, and the pause, last that much longer. Try the recipe below and see if you don’t agree.

4 oz fresh-squeezed lemon juice
Pitcher of chilled water
Granulated sugar

Put a small amount of ice into 2 glasses
Pour 2 oz lemon juice into each glass
Add water and stir in sugar to taste

Makes 2 servings.

Enjoy the airy keyboards, can you hear the sun shining?


  1. This brings back sooo many memories of sitting at the terrasse d’un café and sipping a citron pressé on a hot summer’s day in Paris with my family. You are right. It is sooo not just a glass of lemonade. It’s a summer ritual.

    Thanks for the memories.

    Cheers, M-T

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