“A naturally hot pink lemonade made with a secret ingredient to get the prettiest pink color ever! So bold, sweet, tart, delicious and refreshing!
Watch me make this hot pink lemonade from start to finish!
Pink lemonade searches begin to kick into high gear on google in April and I’m sure you know why! There is just something pretty and Springy about pink lemonade. It makes the perfect girly drink for a Spring baby shower and bridal shower or for relaxing outside on a hot summer day. But what exactly is pink lemonade?
What is pink lemonade?
Pink lemonade is not a particular flavor. It’s not strawberry lemonade, red raspberry lemonade, or any other red fruit-flavored lemonade. They have their own recipes. Pink lemonade is just regular lemonade with red coloring. It should taste just like regular lemonade but..well…pink! To make regular lemonade pink, most people use food dye or a little bit of fruit juice from a red-colored fruit. We’ll be doing something a little bit different though in this recipe and I’ll never use fruit to make pink lemonade again, but more on that later.
Ok since pink lemonade is just regular lemonade with a pink color, what’s the big deal? Where did this concept even come from? That was my next question, so I had to look into it and the stories are numerous!
Origin of Pink Lemonade: Where did pink lemonade come from?
Lemonade is such a popular drink at the circus so it’s no wonder several stories claim that pink lemonade originated at the circus. There are actually several stories floating around the net about the origins of pink lemonade. However, these two are my favorites, and both tie pink lemonade’s birth to the circuses in America, but who knows.
So the first story goes that a man named Henry E. Allot joined the circus as a teen. He claimed that he accidentally dropped some cinnamon candies into a batch of lemonade and it turned pink. They decided to sell the drink anyway to keep from having to throw it out. Apparently, the “pink lemonade” was a hit and pink lemonade was born.
The next story (and my favorite) claims that pink lemonade was invented by Pete Conklin. It claims that when he was selling lemonade at a circus, he ran out of water and grabbed a tub of dirty water. Whether or not this was on purpose or an accident it is still up in the air. A performer had just wrung out her red tights in the dirty water and the dye from the tights created pink water. Pete sold the drink as “pink lemonade” and his sales doubled.
The BEST Pink Lemonade Recipe
I can assure you that this homemade pink lemonade recipe does not include cinnamon candies or red dye from dirty tights! But it DOES have a secret ingredient that makes the PRETTIEST, all-natural pink color ever! Wanna know what it is? BEET JUICE!!!!
Don’t click off, I promise you’ll LOVE it! Even if you hate beets as I do! Ick!
- Choose your shade of beautiful pink
- No beet smell or taste
- Doesn’t separate or become cloudy like fruit juices
- 100% natural pink dye
- Less than a teaspoon colors an entire pitcher
- You can find beet juice in Target, Whole Foods, Publix, etc.
Need I say more…?
I use to make my homemade pink lemonade recipe with strawberry juice, raspberry juice, or sometimes cranberry juice because…well..it just seemed like the most natural thing to do. However, using strawberries left me with pink lemonade that was kinda orange-pink. Raspberry juice gave a suitable pink color but it also separated a bit and made my lemonade cloudy if I wasn’t careful to strain them well. I also had to use a bit more of it to get the pink color which also imparted some raspberry flavor. Boo.
Oh well, I just dealt with it. I never thought to try anything else to get a perfect pink color. I just assumed that naturally, pink lemonade would never be the color of the ones in the grocery store that uses dyes. WRONG!
Snapple to the rescue!
As I was drinking my pretty pink Snapple pink lemonade I noticed how gorgeous it was. Snapple uses no artificial colors so how were they creating such a lovely pink drink? What in nature produces that glorious pink shade? I scanned the short ingredients list and saw it… VEGETABLE BLEND
Upon this discovery, I quickly ditched my “fruit juices” and whipped up a batch using ( not even a teaspoon!!) of beet juice. The results: A gorgeous, pretty pink lemonade! Just the shade I was looking for without the cloudiness! Matter of fact, beets create so many drop-dead gorgeous shades of pink depending on how much you use.
Well, spank me on an Easter Sunday!! I would have never guessed to use vegetables as a colorant for lemonade! Sure beets are sometimes used in red velvet cake but did you know it made such a pretty shade of pink??? Maybe I’m late for the party but I’m glad to finally be here! I mean just look at that shade! It’s almost an electric pink, which is the PERFECT shade for a boozy, Girls-Night-In drink IMO.
I’m officially calling this drink Divas Can Cook Lemonade, due to its gorgeous hot pink color! The two on the right in the photo below were colored with beet juice.
But the million-dollar question and all I cared about was ….. can you taste the beets?
When I tell you I LOATHE beets I mean it! I can’t get passed the dirt-taste without gagging. I know my Grandma Barb is probably shaking her head at me right now because she use to always preach the benefits of eating beets and vitamin C.
The verdict: You absolutely CAN NOT taste the beet flavor at all. Like NONE! The recipe uses less than a teaspoon to make an entire batch of pink lemonade thanks to beets’ super concentrated pigment. It simply just lends a gorgeous color and that’s it.
Case closed folks! Go make a batch of the most gorgeous pink lemonade and use a few drops of beet juice for the prettiest pink color and the purest lemonade flavor.
How to soften lemons
This lemonade has a whopping 2 cups of fresh lemon juice in it. Yes, I like my homemade lemonade to be bold, tart, and sweet!! Fresh lemon juice is a must for the best pink lemonade! You’ll need about 8 large lemons to equal 2 cups, that’s a lot of juicing and it helps if the lemons are super soft. To soften my lemons, I like to roll and press them back and forth on the counter until they are super squishy. If your lemons are super hard, try microwaving them for a few minutes to soften them up.
Pink Lemonade Recipe Ingredients
- Fresh lemon juice: Provides the best, freshest flavor.
- Granulated sugar: To sweeten it up. You can use other sweeteners if desired.
- Filtered water: No tap water here for the best flavor.
- Beet juice: For pink color.
How to make Pink Lemonade
- Juice lemons, strain, and set juice aside.
- In a pot add water and sugar. Heat, while stirring just until sugar melts.
- Add to a pitcher.
- Stir in the lemon juice.
- Add in remaining cups of cold water, until desired sweetness is reached.
- Stir in beet juice until your desired shade is reached.
- Refrigerate until thoroughly chilled.
- Serve cold over ice.
- Garnish with fresh mint and lemon slices if desired
Why is this Pink lemonade recipe so good?
Well, first it starts with simple syrup. This ensures that there are no granules of sugar and the finished drink is smooth and perfectly sweetened. Since this pink lemonade uses beet juice which imparts no flavor, only real lemonade flavor shines through. Not to mention the lemon juice-sugar-water ratios are darn near perfect if your like a really bold, sweet and tart pink lemonade like I do!!!
Pink Lemonade FAQs:
Is pink lemonade vegan? You can make this recipe vegan but replacing the granulated sugar with raw cane sugar.
My lemonade is too sweet, how can I fix it? No problem, just add more water and/ lemon juice but remember, when serving it over ice, lemonade that isn’t as sweet will water down quickly. Warm lemonade will taste way sweeter than cold lemonade so keep that in mind when tweaking the sweetness level. Before adding more water to this recipe, pour a little over ice and get it super cold and then try it. You will see that it doesn’t taste as sweet as it did when warm/at room temperature.
Can I use concentrated lemon juice? In a pinch, you can grab the infamous plastic lemon bottle, but let that be your last resort. Fresh lemon juice is king and provides that amazing tang.
Where do I buy beet juice? Use beet juice that is not from concentrate. I get my pure beet juice from Harris Teeter or Publix. You can also find it in Whole Foods. If all else fails just grab a can of pure, unsalted beets. The juice in the can be used. Of course, you could always buy fresh beet and juice them. I’ve even made this lemonade using a beet juice blend consisting of beets, carrots, and oranges. It worked just as well.
Make up a cold pitcher of then delicious hot pink lemonade for your next warm day fiesta and let people guess how you got that natural hot pink color!
Best Pink Lemonade
- 8-10 large lemons
- 8-10 cups filtered water, divided
- 2 cups granulated sugar
- pure beet juice (not from concentrate)
- Soften the lemons if needed by rolling them firmly on the counter or warming them in the microwave for a few seconds to make them easier to juice. Cut them in half. Using a juicer, juice the lemons until you have 2 cups of lemon juice. Strain and set aside.
- In a pot, add 2 cups of water and sugar. Heat, while stirring, until the sugar has melted completely and the mixture is syrupy.
- Pour the mixture into a large pitcher and add the lemon juice.
- Stir in the remaining water to suit your taste. Do this gradually to prevent watering it down and taste often while adding the water. Remember warm lemonade tastes WAY sweeter than cold lemonade. To test out the sweetness, pour a little bit into a cup with ice so that it gets cold. (I like my lemonade with 6-7 cups of water which creates a bold, tart, and sweet lemonade that tastes perfect once it's chilled and over ice.)
- Add the beet juice by the drop until the desired color is reached. (To check the pink shade, pour a little bit in a glass over ice, since the shade can look much darker in the pitcher.)
- Chill the lemonade in the fridge until ready to serve. Stir before serving and serve over ice.
- Garnish with mint and lemon slices.