What Is Pink Lemonade?

by Kathryn Walsh

An icy glass of pink lemonade on a table at an outdoor cafe.

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A staple of tea parties and backyard cookouts, pink lemonade has a slightly more festive appearance than regular lemonade. If you accept cups of this sweet treat from two different makers, you may taste very different flavors. Pink lemonade is simply lemonade that's made with some type of pink or red coloring; what provides the color is up to the maker.

Circus Beginnings

A few stories circulate about the origins of pink lemonade, but the most popular one places the drink's conception at a circus in 1857. As the story goes, pink lemonade was invented by accident by a lemonade salesman named Pete Conklin. When he ran out of water one day, he grabbed a nearby bucket of pink water in which a circus performer had recently dunked a pair of pink tights. He made lemonade with the pink-tinted water, advertised it as strawberry lemonade and did big business.

Modern Takes

Strawberry is a popular flavoring for pink lemonade. The berries add rich color and sweetness that cuts through the lemons' sourness. Cook and cool a batch of strawberry syrup and add a bit to a pitcher of lemonade. Or, try adding diced, crushed berries to the drink. The same can be done with raspberries for a tarter beverage. Try adding grenadine, grape juice or grapefruit juice to simple lemonade, or make adults-only cocktails using a deep red, fruity liqueur. If the color alone is what you're after, stir red food coloring into lemonade, a few drops at a time, until you've acquired the perfect shade of pink.

Photo Credits

  • florencemcginn/iStock/Getty Images

About the Author

Cooking, travel and parenting are three of Kathryn Walsh's passions. She makes chicken nuggets during days nannying, whips up vegetarian feasts at night and road trips on weekends. Her work has appeared to The Syracuse Post-Standard and insider magazine. Walsh received a master's degree in journalism from Syracuse University.