10 - 12 medium lemons , scrubbed well, halved pole to pole, all halves sliced thin
3 tablespoons Grated fresh ginger
1 1/4 cups Granulated sugar
Pinch table salt (optional)
5 cups Water (cold)
Mash lemons, ginger, and sugar (and salt, if using) in large, deep bowl or saucepan with potato masher or wooden spoon until lemon slices give up their juice, sugar is dissolved, and juice is thickened to syrup consistency, about 4 minutes. Pour half the lemon slices and syrup through large sieve over bowl or saucepan; press on solids with masher or back of wooden spoon to release as much liquid as possible. Discard solids; transfer liquid to serving pitcher. Repeat process with remaining lemon slices. Stir in water until blended. Chill well and stir to blend before serving, over ice if desired.
Slicing the Lemons: For uniformly thin slices, halve the lemons from pole to pole before slicing horizontally.
Mashing the Lemons: Mashing the sliced lemons with sugar not only dissolves the sugar but also releases some of the flavorful and aromatic oils from the peel. If you don't have a potato masher, use a wooden spoon.