There is nothing like a cold, tall glass of your favorite drink right after spending a few hours in the hot sun.
The lemon itself has no known origin but can be traced back to Northwestern India. It eventually spread west to the Mediterranean and and east to many countries throughout Asia.
Mediterranean people used it as an ornamental plant. Residents of Asia used it for flavoring and medicines, according to forgottenhistory.me .
The earliest known evidence of lemonade comes from Medieval Egypt. A Persian poet wrote about daily life in Egypt and referenced a drink called “qatarmizat,” a drink consisting of juice from a freshly squeezed lemon and sweetened with sugarcane.
The first written recipe for lemonade did not appear until the 13th century in an Arabic cookbook. Hard lemonade, which is spiked with alcohol, first appeared towards the end of the Medieval period, when Genghis Khan ruled Mongolia. Records show that they mixed qatarmizat with different types of alcohol.
Around the mid-17th century, the drink arrived in Europe and became immensely popular. The first recipe for lemonade found in North America was in Mary Randolph’s “The Virginia Housewife” cookbook published in 1824. The drink was more similar to a custard, as it also contained eggs.
In the 1870s, lemonade took a more important role in the United States as the temperance movement began to spread. Those within the movement encouraged people to drink lemonade as an alternative to “evil” alcoholic beverages.
Also around this time, the growing ice trade made ice more cheaper and accessible to common people, making them able to enjoy lemonade on a hot day.
Now, it’s a staple of the dinner table, especially during the summer months.
Locally, Golden Triangle Lemonade Day is held in June as an opportunity to teach children how to start, own and operate a business. It’s part of a national, experimental program.
While we have not had a chance to operate a lemonade stand, my family is a big fan of the drink and its variations. My kids have been known to clean the fridge of a gallon or two in the course of a few hours, especially after a hard day of play under the Southern sun.
One of my family’s favorite drinks is orangeade, a variation of lemonade. It’s served in North Carolina soda shops and made of a blend of freshly squeezed orange juice, simple syrup (a mixture of sugar and water) and a lemon-lime soft drink, such as Sprite or 7-Up. This mixture is served over crushed ice. You can do a few variations on this by substituting oranges with limes or lemons.
When we have some citrus fruits that may be near the point of spoiling, I sometimes add juice from all the fruits and a few crushed mint leaves from our garden to a two-liter of lemon-lime soda. The mint gives the drink a little kick.
While the following recipe calls for limoncello, I leave it out. The light yellow drink looks patriotic with the red and blue berries floating on top of the golden, bubbly drink.
It’s a great way to use some leftover berries before they go bad and add something different to your weekend routine.
RED AND BLUE LEMONADE COCKTAIL
2 cans (12 oz each) frozen lemonade concentrate, thawed
12 cups sparkling water
2 medium lemons, cut into slices
1 pint (2 cups) blueberries
1 pint (2 cups) raspberries
1 lb. strawberries, stemmed and halved
1 cup mint leaves
12 oz. limoncello, if desired
■ Fill a small bowl with water, add 1 sliced lemon. Freeze completely, about 4 hours.
■ In a large pitcher or glass drink dispenser, add lemonade concentrate. Pour in sparkling water. Mix well.
■ Remove bowl from freezer. Dip bowl into warm water, and turn ice out. Put ice in the pitcher containing the lemonade mixture. Add other sliced lemon and berries.
■ Crush the mint leaves in your hands a little to release the juices and add them to the lemonade mixture.
■ Pour into glasses, and add 1 oz. limoncello to each.