There are few beverages that celebrate a season quite like lemonade. While the origin of lemonade is unknown (though some believe it originated in Ancient Egypt over 1,500 years ago), you may be surprised to discover that North America has a slightly different take on the drink than most other countries.
In the United Kingdom, Australia, New Zealand and some European countries, lemonade is a carbonated drink, more like the lemon-lime sodas offered here. Ireland, meanwhile, has three kinds of lemonade: red, brown and white! Pink lemonade, along with several other fruit-flavoured lemonades have become popular over the years, but they all start with the same basic ingredients: lemons, sugar and water.
Tried-and-True Traditional Lemonade
Makes one large pitcher
- 6-8 lemons, squeezed (about 1 cup lemon juice)
- 5 cups water
- 1 cup sugar
Make a simple syrup by combining the sugar and 1 cup of water in a small saucepan and bring to a gentle simmer over low heat to dissolve sugar.
Once completely dissolved, remove from heat to cool. Squeeze the lemons until you have one cup of juice. (Rolling the whole lemons on the cutting board first can help release the juices.)
Add the cooled syrup to your pitcher, followed by the lemon juice and the remaining 4 cups of water. Stir, taste and adjust. Add ice and serve with garnish, such as a slice of fresh fruit or sprig of mint.
6 Variations on Traditional Lemonade
1. Alternative Sweeteners
Make it healthier by replacing white sugar with 1/2 cup raw honey or coconut sugar.
2. Pink Lemonade
For pink lemonade, add a few tablespoons of grenadine to your lemonade recipe.
3. Herb Lemonade
Add herbs, such as basil, thyme or mint to the syrup after removing it from the heat, to infuse the flavours. Remove from syrup before adding to pitcher.
Make limeade by switching out the lemons for limes.
5. Sparkling Lemonade
Use half sparkling water and half plain water for a carbonated beverage.
6. Lemonade Cocktail
- 1 pitcher traditional lemonade
- 8 cups cubed watermelon
- 1 cup vodka
Blend watermelon with lemonade until smooth. You may need to work in 2 batches.
Pour watermelon mixture through sieve to remove any chunks or seeds.
Add mixture to empty pitcher with vodka; stir. If mixture is too strong, simply add more lemonade.
Serve with ice and garnish, OR for a frozen cocktail, add ice to the blender with the watermelon and lemonade.