Most lemonade varieties can be separated into two distinct types: cloudy or clear; each is known simply as "lemonade" (or a cognate) in countries where dominant. Cloudy lemonade, generally found in North America and South Asia, is traditionally a homemade drink using lemon juice, water, and a sweetener such as cane sugar or honey. In the United Kingdom and Australia, clear lemonade, which is typically also carbonated, dominates.
A popular cloudy variation is pink lemonade, made with added fruit flavors such as raspberry or strawberry giving the drink its distinctive pink color.
Alcoholic varieties are known as hard lemonade.
In some countries, the name "lemonade" is also used for other, non-lemon flavored drinks (carbonated or not), such as the German "Orangenlimonade".
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 drink 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.
While carbonated water had been invented by Joseph Priestley in 1767, the first reference found to carbonated lemonade was in 1833 where the drink was widely available in British refreshment stalls. R. White's Lemonade, which is now produced and sold by Britvic, has been sold in the UK since 1845.
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, which – true to its name – has a distinctive pink color, is created by adding additional fruit juices, flavors, or food coloring to the recipe. 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 in his obituary in The New York Times, saying he had dropped in red cinnamon candies by mistake. Another theory, recorded by 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.
The predominant form of lemonade in the UK and Australia is a clear, lemon-flavored soda. Schweppes and R. White's Lemonade are common brands, and stores usually carry a store branded lemonade as well. Other sodas which are both lemon and lime flavored may also sometimes be referred to as lemonade, such as Sprite and 7 up. There are also speciality flavors, such as Fentimans Rose Lemonade, which is sold both in the UK, the US, and Canada. Shandy, a mixture of beer and clear lemonade, is often sold pre-bottled.
In India and Pakistan, where it is commonly known as limbu paani or nimbu paani, and in Bangladesh, lemonades may also contain salt and/or ginger juice. Shikanjvi is a traditional lemonade from this region, and can also be flavored with saffron, cumin and other spices.
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 Northern Africa, a drink called cherbat is made of lemon, mint, and rose water.
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.
Limeade is a variation of lemonade, replacing 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.