Pink Lemonade is a beverage that I didn’t give much thought to, until my 4 year old daughter started requesting it frequently. Just the fact of its pinkness was enough to convince her that it was the most delicious drink on the planet. I had always assumed that pink lemonade was just lemonade with added food coloring, which sounded gross. After doing some label reading, I soon found out that most pink lemonade concentrate is lemonade mixed with another kind of juice for added color, most commonly pink grapefruit or cranberry juice. Pink lemonade made with grapefruit juice is usually a lighter pink, while that made with cranberry juice has a more vibrant pink hue (and is, therefore, more acceptable to my daughter). For my homemade version, I decided to try a third option and use raspberries because I like their flavor and thought it would add a nice summery flavor to the lemonade. Raspberries give the lemonade a very bright pink color so I used a cranberry-based pink lemonade for comparison.
This lemonade recipe is different from many others in that you don’t actually juice the lemons, but instead muddle them together with the sugar and raspberries to create a kind of concentrated lemonade syrup. I prefer this method for making lemonade because it seems to extract a more vibrant lemon flavor from the lemons. Also, it is very fun for kids to help out by mushing all the ingredients together! It does take a bit longer than juicing the lemons, especially if you have an electric juicer, but I really think it’s worth it to get all that extra lemon flavor from the peel and the rind.
- 10 medium lemons, thinly sliced
- 1 cup fresh raspberries
- 1 cup sugar
- 4-6 cups water
- 1. Place the lemons, raspberries and sugar in a large mixing bowl. Using a tapered rolling pin or a large wooden spoon, pound on the lemons and raspberries until all the juice is extracted and the sugar has dissolved; this takes about 8 minutes of pounding.
- 2. Strain the lemon/raspberry syrup through a fine mesh sieve to remove all the seeds and solids. Pour the lemon/raspberry syrup into a large pitcher and add water to taste, using more water if you like a milder, less sweet lemonade. Stir well to combine and chill until ready to use.
Three out of three taste-testers preferred the flavor of the homemade pink lemonade (including one picky 4 year old). Not a huge sample size, I know, but our family loved the raspberry lemonade! My daughter approved because it tasted “sweeter” than the pink lemonade from concentrate (I think because raspberries have a milder, sweeter flavor than cranberry juice) and had a nice, deep pink color. I thought the flavor was much fresher than the lemonade from concentrate and I loved the addition of sweet, summery raspberries.
The drawback for homemade lemonade is definitely the price. Unless you are fortunate enough to have a lemon tree and raspberry bush in your backyard, fresh lemons and raspberries are going to be expensive. Thus, the homemade pink lemonade ultimately was over 4 times the price of frozen pink lemonade. Frozen lemonade concentrate is very inexpensive and also extremely convenient so homemade can’t really compare on the price or time component.
Bottom Line: Homemade Pink Lemonade made with raspberries is deliciously fresh with a fruity flavor that is extra refreshing on a hot summer day. However, it is much more expensive than pink lemonade made from frozen concentrate and takes a bit more time to prepare.