A whole pile of zested meyer lemons, picked off my backyard tree, ended up juiced into lemonade, sweetened with vanilla sugar. The lemons possess a light, orangey sweetness, without the direct acidity of a typical lemon variety. Their aromatic delicacy paired nicely with the sugar’s subtle notes, noticeable only when you inhaled while taking a sip.
Why I even have vanilla sugar on hand is another story entirely: last year around this time, I was inspired by an eGullet thread to make my own vanilla extract, which resulted in a bulk purchase of vanilla beans. A pound of vanilla is like a pound of cinnamon sticks: way more than anyone needs for a long, long time. I ended up giving all of the extract away, so I don’t even know if it was any good. Thanks to my 1-lb stock of whole vanilla beans, I’ve developed the habit of tucking a vanilla bean into anything that might benefit (and a few things that definitely DIDN’T benefit). A few beans tucked into a glass jar of granulated sugar lends a slight aroma after a few weeks; not forceful enough to be noticed in a cup of coffee, but certainly evident when sprinkled over fruit, yogurt, or stirred into hot tea. Bulk extract-grade vanilla is available online at amazingly inexpensive prices, compared to the dinky, expensive jars sold at spice and specialty stores.