When we were pouring candles for the summer collection, the Pink Lemonade fragrance inspired me to go make some lemonade to cool off afterwards. That got me thinking about where pink lemonade actually came from, so I did a bit of sleuthing and found out a few interesting facts. I also found a gabazillion different recipes and methods of making pink lemonade! I’m going to share my favorite way, which is easily adapted for using either fresh lemons/lemon juice or a premade drink mix.
According to an article in Smithsonian Magazine, pink lemonade has been around since the late 1800s and has its roots in the circus. Even though there are pink lemons, their juice is not pink, so most recipes for pink lemonade use fruits such as strawberries, raspberries, or watermelon as the source of the color. Just about any fruit is a good addition to flavor your lemonade!
There are lots of recipes available for making pink lemonade using fruit juice, juice concentrates, fresh fruit, fruit purees, simple syrups – the list goes on! While they all sound delicious, some of them just seemed to be too much in terms of preparation. My simplified method for making flavored lemonades has a single tool – an infusion pitcher.
Infusion pitchers are available pretty much anywhere home goods are sold and are reasonably priced. They have a center core that can be filled with fruit or vegetables to make flavored waters, teas, or other drinks. (Cucumber slices and mint leaves make a great flavored water!) In this recipe, we will be using a mix of fresh and frozen fruits to flavor our lemonade. The juices from the fruit will give it the lovely pink color we are looking for.
My Mom had a simple recipe for making fresh lemonade. Since it’s a ratio, it can be easily scaled up to make whatever amount you need. She wrote out most of her recipes like this on small pieces of paper and kept them in a file box. I’ve since placed them on pages in a recipe book so they don’t get lost.
When we access to lemon trees, I would make this with fresh lemon juice. Nowadays I use prepackaged lemonade mix, but feel free to use fresh if you prefer! We will also need either fresh or frozen fruit to add color and flavor. Herbs are optional but add an extra zing to your finished drink. Mint, basil, and cilantro all play nicely with lemon. Today I am using frozen raspberries and some leftover pieces of fresh orange, lemon, and cilantro from other recipes.
The first thing to do is make the lemonade, using either the mix or a recipe with lemon juice. Stir it up really well in your pitcher, with the core removed.
Now start filling the center core with the fruit. I put the frozen fruit in first, since it will start to thaw and compress once it’s in the lemonade, allowing more fruit to be added on top.
Place the core into the pitcher containing the lemonade. Use a long handled spoon to help press the fruit down. Ideally you want all the fruit to be submerged in the lemonade. See how much the frozen berries sink once they start thawing? The fruit is already starting to color the lemonade, too!
If you have room, you can add more fruit or herbs if you want to. I had a little room left, so I added some of the cilantro sprigs to the cylinder. Then screw the lid onto the pitcher and place it in the refrigerator. I typically make my lemonade in the evening, so it can infuse overnight.
And through the magic of the internet, it’s tomorrow! I feel like I am on my own cooking show where I put one pitcher in the fridge and there’s a completed version ready for me to show you immediately. (I really did wait until the next day…) Here is our lovely pink lemonade, all ready to enjoy!
Remove the center core and put it on a plate, as it will have some liquid in it and be drippy. All the raspberries were at the bottom, so that’s where all the red color is. Stir the lemonade to mix the infused fruit juice in, so the drink has a uniform color. You can use some of the fruit from the center core as a garnish, if you want to.
And there you have it – a quick and relatively easy way to make your own pink lemonade or any flavor lemonade you want! Experiment with different types of fruits, too. It’s a great way to use up any fresh fruit that you have on hand. I’ve also used a frozen mix of strawberries, blueberries, and cherries before and it turned out great! Enjoy!
Do you have a favorite fruit combination for infusing into water, tea, or lemonade? Let us know in the comments and thanks for reading!