Pink lemonade a real treat when using fresh juice and fruit

Sparkling strawberry lemonade gets its rosy color from fresh berries. One cup is 100 calories.
Sparkling strawberry lemonade gets its rosy color from fresh berries. One cup is 100 calories. Kansas City Star

Kid-powered lemonade stands that serve old-fashioned lemonade – the kind that requires a bit of elbow grease because it is squeezed from fat, juicy lemons – are a dying breed.

Powdered and bottled lemonades with artificial sweeteners and colors dominate the market. There is a breed of pink-fleshed lemons, but their flesh – not their juice – is rosy. Sometimes cranberry, pomegranate, grapefruit or raspberry juices are used for coloring. But stories about the invention of pink lemonade in the mid-1800s tend to leave a bad taste.

One often-repeated tale is that cinnamon red hots were accidentally dropped into a pitcher at a carnival concession stand. Another says pink lemonade was invented by a circus concessionaire who ran out of water and used the dregs left in a wash-tub dyed pink by a horse rider’s red tights. Or, in some versions, a red blanket.

The blog Mental Floss adds a more plausible modern-day source of the pink in lemonade: red dye No. 40. Concerns about additives and preservatives are certainly valid, but I also worry that these “ades” seldom contain pulp or taste the least bit acidic.

The Kansas City Star’s sparkling strawberry lemonade is an effervescent twist on straight-up old-fashioned lemonade, but it comes by its rosy color naturally: Simply add a few strawberries for flavor, color and garnish.

The sparkling water makes it a better thirst quencher than sodas. There are 100 calories in 1 cup of lemonade.


▪  The lemonade will separate upon standing. Stir to combine and serve.

▪  For an adult-only libation, try adding a shot of rum or vodka.

Sparkling strawberry lemonade

Serves 6 to 8

1 cup water

1/2 cup granulated sugar

1/2 cup fresh-squeezed lemon juice

3 cups halved strawberries (cut strawberries in half before measuring)

Two 11.5-ounce bottles sparkling mineral water

In a saucepan, combine water and sugar. Bring to a boil over medium high heat; stir to dissolve sugar. Remove from heat; allow to cool.

Add water mixture, lemon juice and strawberries to a blender. Cover; process until smooth. Pour into a large serving pitcher and add sparkling mineral water. Stir well. Allow to stand for 10 minutes for foam to subside. Place ice cubes in serving glasses; pour lemonade over ice. Refrigerate any leftovers.

Per serving, based on 6: 100 calories (none from fat), 0 fat, 0 chol., 24 g carb., 1 g protein, 4 mg sodium, 2 g dietary fiber.