It’s not really summer until you’ve sipped cold pink lemonade outside under the hot sun.
Some foodie folks at CHOW have a brief discussion on the possible history of pink lemonade. One tale is of red cinnamon candies accidentally spilling into a tub of lemonade; another of using washtub water from scrubbing red tights to make the lemonade (sounds hygienic, no?).
Whatever the truth behind how this summertime staple came to be, it doesn’t really matter. This no-alcohol tonic is essential for warm-weather days, whether you’re a tyke splashing in the kiddie pool or grown-up reading newspapers at the beach.
So how does pink lemonade actually become pink? Nowadays, most commercial mixed use artificial food dyes to make it pink. But if you’re making your own at home, you can use a number of foods lying around to give your punch that pink pizzazz: cranberries, red or purple berries, or even a splash of grenadine can all do the trick.
Aside from the pink, making pink lemonade is as simple as lemons + water + sugar. Fresh lemon juice always beats out store-bought juice from concentrate in flavor, so roll up your sleeves and get ready to squeeze some fruits.
For the sugar, any sweetener at all will the do trick. Common granulated sugar is the easiest route, but it needs to be stirred quite a bit in order for all those sugar crystals to break up inside the liquid. To avoid this, you can easily use honey, agave, or stevia powder (which dissolves really quickly into liquids).
Now, the level of sweetness and tartness of your pink lemonade are entirely up to you, all based on the ratio of lemon juice:water:sugar you use.
If you prefer a sweeter punch, try 1 part lemon to 2 parts water to 1 part sugar. If you like a punch that packs a sour punch, maybe try 1 part lemon to 2 parts water to ½ part sugar. And if you like something mild and easy-sipping, give a go at 1 part lemon to 3 parts water to 1 part sugar.
A recipe from the Los Angeles Times calls for a serious amount of fresh lemon juice, plus diced watermelon pieces for natural pink color (and a good dose of natural sweetness). Over at a healthy eating blog called Healthier Steps, there’s a recipe for pink lemonade using raspberries as the natural coloring ingredient. And leave it to Martha Stewart to have a no-brainer recipe, which has just a touch of cranberry juice in it for color—brilliant!