Lemonade is the name for a number of sweetened beverages found around the world, all characterized by lemon flavor. Most lemonade varieties can be separated into two distinct types: cloudy, and clear, each known simply as "lemonade" in countries where dominant. Cloudy lemonade, generally found in North America and India, is a traditionally homemade drink made with lemon juice, water, and sweetened with cane sugar or honey. Found in the United Kingdom, Ireland, South Africa, Australia, and New Zealand, clear lemonade is a lemon, or lemon-lime flavored, carbonated soft drink.
A popular variation is pink lemonade, made with added fruit flavors such as raspberry or strawberry among others, giving a distinctive pink color. The "ade" suffix may also be applied to other similar drinks made with different fruits, such as limeade, orangeade, or cherryade. Alcoholic varieties are known as hard lemonade.
In many European countries, the French word limonade has come to mean "soft drink", regardless of flavor.
As lemons and sugarcane are native to India, it is safe to assume the Indians first consumed a type of lemonade called Nimbu Pani, meaning "lemon water," literally. Another name for this beverage is Shikanjvi.
The earliest written evidence of lemonade has been found in Egypt, dated to around AD 1000, It is believed that the fruit was introduced from Asia around AD 700. Here, a wine made with lemons, dates, and honey was enjoyed by peasants, and bottles of lemon juice with sugar, known as qatarmizat were imported and consumed locally.
In 1676, a company known as Compagnie de Limonadiers was founded in Paris. Having been granted monopoly rights to sell lemonade, vendors roamed the streets serving the drink in cups from tanks on their backs.
The first reference found to a carbonated lemonade was in 1833.
The predominant form of lemonade found in the US, Canada, and India, cloudy lemonade, also known as "traditional lemonade" in the UK and Australia, is typically non-carbonated and made with fresh lemon juice, however commercially produced varieties are also available. Generally served cold, cloudy lemonade may also be served hot as a remedy for congestion and sore throats, frozen, or used as a mixer.
Traditionally, it is common for children in US and Canadian neighborhoods to start lemonade stands to make money during the summer months. The concept has become iconic of youthful summertime Americana to the degree that parodies and variations on the concept exist across media. References can be found in comics and cartoons such as Peanuts, and the 1979 computer game Lemonade Stand. Recently, the subject has attracted controversy as some unlicensed lemonade stands have been shut down due to health regulations.
A popular variation of cloudy lemonade, pink lemonade is created by adding additional fruit juices, flavors, or food coloring to the recipe. Adding flavor, and a distinctive pink coloring, possible additions may include raspberries, strawberries, cherries, red grapefruit, grapes, cranberries, grenadine, or the fruit of the Staghorn Sumac. The invention of pink lemonade was credited to Henry E. "Sanchez" Allott as the inventor of pink lemonade in his obituary in The New York Times, saying he had dropped in red cinnamon candies by mistake. Another theory, recorded by historian Joe Nickell in his book Secrets of the Sideshows, is that the drink was first invented in 1857 by Pete Conklin, when he made lemonade using water dyed pink from a horse rider's red tights.
In Ireland, lemonade is available as a clear "white lemonade", as well as in red and brown varieties. Despite the three flavors, differences in taste between the three have been disputed. Red lemonade is a popular mixer, especially with whiskey, and has become the center of a popular urban myth. It has been believed that European Union authorities planned to ban the drink, when in fact they were only banning certain carcinogenic dyes.
In India and Pakistan, where it is commonly known as limbu paani or nimbu paani, lemonade may also contain salt and/or ginger juice. Shikanjvi is a traditional lemonade from this region, and can also be flavored with saffron, and cumin.
Limonana, a type of lemonade made from freshly squeezed lemon juice and mint leaves, is a widely popular summer drink in Israel, Jordan, Lebanon, and Syria. Limonana was created in the early 1990s in Israel after an advertising agency promoted the then-fictitious product to prove the efficacy of advertising on public buses. The campaign generated so much consumer demand that restaurateurs and manufacturers began really producing the drink, which would become very popular.
In France, it is common for restaurants to offer citron pressé, an unmixed version of lemonade in which the customer is given lemon juice, syrup and water separately to be mixed in their preferred proportions. A Guardian article on British Francophiles commented that "it used to be that a gaggle of women drinking citron pressés would silently compete to see who could add the least sugar, thereby proving their ultra-refined taste for sourness."
Limeade is a variation of lemonade, substituting lemon juice or flavoring with lime. Like lemonade, both cloudy and clear varieties exist. It is especially popular in nations where limes are common, such as Guyana and Trinidad, as well as India, Pakistan, Thailand and throughout South-East Asia. A Thai-styled limeade tastes salty, and sometimes does not have any sugar.
Most major beverage companies now offer their own brand of limeade, such as A.G. Barr of Glasgow and Newman's Own since 2004, with Minute Maid introducing a Cherry Limeade drink in response to the popularity of Limeade. Sonic Drive-In also offers a cherry limeade.
Like other citrus-fruit based products, lemonade has been promoted as healthful due to its high concentration of vitamin C. However, the drink's health benefits will be highly limited in many diets due to its very high sugar content. Adding zest to lemonade may help reduce the sugar content by making it taste sweeter (due to the flavanone compounds).
Daily consumption of 120 ml (4 imp fl oz; 4 US fl oz) of lemon juice per day, when mixed with two litres of water, has been shown to reduce the rate of stone formation in people susceptible to kidney stones. Lemons contain the highest concentration of citric acid of any fruit, and this weak acid has been shown to inhibit stone formation.
In popular culture
First coined by Christian anarchist writer and philosopher Elbert Hubbard in a 1915 obituary for dwarf actor Marshall P. Wilder, the phrase "When life gives you lemons, make lemonade" has come to encourage optimism in the face of adversity.
- Ade (drink Suffix)
- Lemon-Lime Drink
- Lemon Squash
- Lemon, Lime and Bitters
- Chanh muối
- List of juices
- List of lemon dishes and beverages
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- Of the Street Sale of Ginger-Beer, Sherbet, Lemonade,&C., from London Labour and the London Poor, Volume 1, Henry Mayhew, 1851; subsequent pages cover the costs and income of street lemonade sellers.