Lemonade originates in Asia and the Middle East, where it is served with fresh mint. Egyptians have enjoyed homemade lemonade for over 1000 years. However, we tend to associate the refreshing soda with the US, where many children begin their first businesses, having a ‘lemonade stand’ to sell this popular drink to local people. Although some states have now banned this, due to health and safety laws. There is a well-known phrase that ‘when life gives you lemons, make lemonade’. We prefer the quote by Ron White: ‘When life gives you lemons, make lemonade. Then find someone whose life has given them vodka – and have a party!’
This recipe for homemade lemonade with rose & raspberry (Heartful Table) is far nicer than sickly sweet lemonade brands made with refined sugar or sweeteners. A refreshing summer drink, served in a glass pitcher it means no plastic bottles are needed either.
Sweetened naturally with rice malt syrup (sold in all indie health stores), you can sub with agave nectar (sweeter, so use less) or maple syrup (this will change the taste) if you prefer a lower glycemic index. You can also dilute it with fizzy water for a nice alternative to wine spritzer.
Made with fresh raspberries and lemons, you’ll need a sieve to prevent the pips and seeds remaining in the drink.. If you’re feeling really fancy, add some homemade raspberry ice cubes to each glass, before pouring in the lemonade.
This recipe uses rosewater, which most shops sell alongside other floral waters. It’s not necessary for the recipe, so don’t worry if you don’t have it. Once made, this drink keeps in the fridge for a couple of days, but shake or stir before serving. To your health!
Make Your Own Lemonade
Blackberry Basil Lemonade (Rainbow Plant Life) combines basil with fresh blackberries, for a maple-sweetened drink, ideal for hot summer days. And such a pretty hue too. The pepper from the basil turns this into a ‘grown-up lemonade’. Blackberries can be foraged for free from local hedgerows. Leave some for birds, insects and wildlife, they like them too! Be careful as they are likely to stain hands, and you don’t want to be wearing plastic gloves near natural areas, in case you dropped one. The best ones grow in sunlight (they don’t ripen after picking), and will come off easily. Gently rinse and strain outside to let any insects escape, then keep them them (unwashed) in the fridge and use up quickly.
Try these Frozen Lemonade Popsicles (Plant Based Juniors) by two mothers and nutritionists. Naturally sweet, they are made from lemon juice, chopped pineapple and full-fat coconut milk.
Ginger Lemonade (Crowded Kitchen, above) is a quarter of the price of a ‘cleansing lemon juice’ that you can buy at an organic grocery store. This is healthy and packs a huge dose of vitamin C (avoid ginger for pregnancy or history of miscarriage, as it can induce early labour by contracting the uterus).
Make Your Own Boozy Lemonade
Berry Bourbon Lemonade Pitcher Cocktail (Crowded Kitchen) is ideal for a party. Made with blackberries, raspberries, lemon, vegan bourbon and sparkling water. Serve at your next summer vegan BBQ.
Blackberry Lemonade Mojito (Short Girl, Tall Order) is a refreshing cocktail, made with muddled blackberries and mint, mixed with lemonade, sparkling soda water and rum.
Where to Buy Natural Lemonade
Here are more natural brands, made with water, real lemons and cane sugar. They are also owned by local artisan companies, to buy in farm shops or cafes, or just in bulk and keep a few in the fridge, for when you need a fizzy iced lemonade, for a hot day
Avoid sodas sweetened with pet-toxic xylitol: lethal if ingested (even in gum, toothpaste or muffin crumbs). Never buy cans wrapped with plastic rings, these injure wildlife – if you see any discarded, rip up the holes and dispose of in the nearest secure bin.
Square Root Lemonade is a simple blend of carbonated water, lemon juice and sugar; the original Italian Victorian recipe. It also uses Sicilian lemons: enjoy on a balmy evening, watching Inspector Montalbano.
Folkingtons Old-Fashioned Pink Lemonade is made from the finest Femminello Commune family of lemons, grown by farming co-ops in Sicily and pressed near Palermo, within 48 hours of harvesting. It’s then mixed with a dash of pure British raspberry juice to ‘pinkify!’ This lemon has a distinctive sourness, unique to Sicily, where these lemons make up 75% of the crop, as they can be harvested year-long, as each sub-variety blossoms and matures during different seasons. Trade orders are available for shops, hotels and restaurants.
Whole Earth Sparkling Lemonade is sold in a can, made from concentrated lemon juice, apple juice and agave. Find this in most indie health stores and farm shop.
Luscombe Bubbles (Devon) are made with organic and wild fruits, with Dartmoor spring water as elegant alternatives to alcohol. They offer a delicate balance of floral notes with a refreshing zing. The range includes wild elderflower (hand-picked in the June sunshine), Damascene rose, that marries rose petals with Muscat grape and Sicilian lemon juice. The Citrus range includes orange and St Clements, along with a Sicilian lemonade. The oranges are grown in the volcanic soils of Mount Etna, paired with the juice from Sicilian lemons.
Lovely Drinks Garden Lemonade is a refreshing fizz made with Sicilian lemons, lime juice and English lavender extract. Enjoy alone or add vodka and a sprig of rosemary, for an aromatic sundowner. Also try their Raspberry Lemonade made with English berries and more Sicilian lemons.
Heron Valley Cloudy Sparkling Lemonade is made with only juicy lemons, sugar and bubbly Devon water. Perfect for a hot summer day, this is the ultimate summer cooler. Heron Valley Wild Nettle Fizz is a refreshing leafy bubbly that’s nice on its own or mixed with a local gin for a summer cocktail. A revelation from the hedgerows.
Fentimans Victorian Lemonade (Northumberland) is botanically brewed to a 100-year old recipe, with each bottle containing the juice of 1.5 lemons (rose lemonade is made with Bulgarian rose oil). The light rose lemonade has no artificial sweeteners.