10 ways to lemonade: the fascinating history of lemonade and how to make your own

Fix yourself a glass and get ready to learn about the surprising globe-trotting history of lemonade!

Is there any more iconic summer refresher than a glass of lemonade? This simple drink has a surprisingly rich history with lots of different versions hailing from around the world. Once you’ve read up on lemonade, get in the kitchen with your kiddo and taste test a few versions! Here are our favourite top ten lemonade facts and recipes:

  • Lemonade is older than you think. Some of the earliest records we have of lemonade are from the medieval Jewish community in Cairo, Egypt, where they made qatarmizat, a version of lemonade that had lemon, honey, and water. The drink was a popular trading item.
  • Nimbu pani (literally "lemon water") is a lemonade with a rich history from India. It’s traditionally made with water, lemon, sugar, cumin, black pepper and mint: here’s a recipe created as a refresher for school kids to try with your little ones.
  • Tunisian citronnade is a variety of lemonade from North Africa that uses almost the entire fruit in the drink, along with orange blossom water. Try this version and be sure to serve it with crunchy almonds on the side, Tunisian-style!
  • Papelon con limon is a Venezuelan drink made with grated papelon (blocks of concentrated sugar cane juice), lime and water.
  • Did you know pink lemonade has two wild origin stories—and both of them have to do with the circus? Whether or not you believe that pink lemonade started with a trapeze artist's red tights falling into the brew, or cinnamon hearts, this recipe with beets is a fun way to see red—and this strawberry version is also glorious.
  • Selling lemonade in Paris—a version made from sparkling water—was so popular during the 1630’s that the lemonade sellers organized themselves into a guard called La Compagnie de Limonadiers. Sip this recipe for citron pressé while you read about how the thirst for lemonade they started might have staved off the plague.
  • Any history of lemonade wouldn’t be complete without lemonade stands—and over the last hundred years, they’ve become surprisingly contentious! You can read about their history of controversy, and then about how lemonade stands don’t actually do a great job of teaching kids about business (but how adults love them anyway)
  • Hot lemonade also has a long history of being used as a medicinal drink for colds: we’ve talked before about honey lemon tea and other comfort foods, and a cup of this soothing drink can be the perfect cure for a summer cold.
  • Modern lemonade can be made with all sorts of summer fruits: we like this raspberry peach version, and this blackberry version (bonus: these lemonades are a fantastic way to enjoy extra fruits if you’re taking your kids berrying this summer

For a creamy frozen lemonade, try this version with notes of honey, Greek yogurt and lemon. And of course our recipe archives are full of more tasty recipes to try with your kids, including a sweet tutorial from 5-year-old Sophie and her mom—their kaffir lime leaves and agave syrup give a fresh twist to this classic recipe.

How do you like to lemonade? Let us know on our Facebook and Instagram feeds, where we’ll be sharing more summer drinks and ways to keep cool.

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