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Homemade, Fresh-Squeezed Lemonade Recipe

by Emily
A closeup side shot of lemonade in a glass. Lemon slices sit in the glass. Lemonade sits in the background next to lemons.

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The History of Lemonade 

Lemonade from the Origin of the Lemon to the 13th Century Ancients

It is way harder to pinpoint the exact origins of fresh-squeezed lemonade than you actually may think–This sweet and tart drink has been around for ages (approximately 1,000 years old to put it somewhere in the ballpark) and the basic formula hasn’t changed much since its inception. Across countries, continents, and centuries the main ingredients for a basic lemonade recipe have largely stayed the same: lemon juice, a sweetener like sugar or honey, and water. Because of this, accounts of this thirst-quenching drink traverse the globe. 

A long, long, long, time ago (scientists and paleontologists found fossils of leaves dating back to some 8 million years ago?!!) ancestors of lemon and other citrus fruits came from China.

At some point, different citrus fruits such as citron and mandarin were cultivated together to create a hybrid, the lemon, and in the 10th century we have our first evidence of what we now know as the lemon tree–written in a text about farming by Qustus Al-Rumi. In the same century, an incredibly important Persian poet, philosopher, and traveler named Nasir-i-Khusraw wrote a depiction of the 10th-century Egyptian lifestyle that included the drink qatarmizat. Qatarmizat, a drink of sweet and sour lemon juice, was traded and exported from Egypt well into the 13th century. Further, In the 12th century, a physician to the Sunni Muslim Leader Saladin named Ibn Jami’ wrote a paper about lemons which helped spread the word about this fruit. 

An overhead shot of lemonade in a glass. Lemon slices sit in the glass. Lemonade sits in the background next to lemons.

Lemonade Gaining Popularity in Europe in the 17th and 18th Century 

Moving forward from ancient times, lemonade became an incredibly popular drink in Paris during the 17th century. Parisians first introduced the fizzy style most common in Europe. Made of honey, sparkling water, and lemon juice, this drink was sold by vendors. It was so popular they created an organization named the Compagnie de Limonadiers. Compagnie de Limonadiers is considered to be the first “soda” company. 

In the 18th century, a British chemist named Joseph Priestley invented carbonated water. Before this invention, sparkling water came directly from the source of mineral springs and those bubbles were from naturally-occurring gases. Cool right?! A few years later a German-Swiss jeweler named Johann Schweppe created a process of carbonation using a compression pump. This process allowed carbonated water and carbonated drinks to become mass-produced. 

Lemonade is Introduced to the United States in the 18th Century 

Within the same century, across the ocean, Lemonade finally became popular in the United States as a result of immigration and the temperance movement. The Women’s Christian Temperance Union (WCTU) fought for abstinence from alcohol and “gently” pushed individuals to drink lemonade instead. 

In case you were wondering, Prohibition officially took over the United States in the 20th century leading to speakeasies and moonshine. 

A side shot of lemonade in a glass. Lemon slices sit in the glass. Lemonade sits in the background next to lemons.

Further Lemonade Facts

Here, I list some further fun lemonade facts about this favorite citrus drink. Once again, if you have any questions, leave a comment below or email me at [email protected]!

  • The term “Lemonade” means different things in different places. In countries like the United States and India, lemonade refers to the combination of sugar, lemon juice, and water. It is flat, meaning there are no bubbles. Looking toward the United Kingdom and New Zealand you will find that lemonade has carbonation. This probably dates back to that British chemist Joseph Priestley who popularized carbonated drinks! 

Tip: If you are in the United Kingdom and want the type of lemonade you get in the States, ask for “cloudy lemonade.” You may get lucky and get a flat-styled lemonade (though that is not always the case. Make sure to ask!) 

  • We use the phrase “thirst quenching” to describe lemonade for a reason! Food researchers have discovered that lemonade triggers the salivary glands in our mouths. This helps provide relief from the dry mouth feeling caused by fatigue and dehydration. Cool right? No wonder people drink a lot of lemonade when the climate is hot and humid.
  • Lemonade stands may not be legal in certain areas of the U.S. This is good to know because officials are starting to regulate these little pop-up shops more! It turns out only 15 states allow unpermitted lemonade stands. If you do not have a permit, or license, and pass health safety regulations you could get in trouble with the law. There have been many instances of children’s stands getting hefty fines for working without a permit! 

Homemade, Fresh-Squeezed Lemonade Recipe Ingredient List:

Below, I list the ingredients used to make this delicious tart lemonade recipe. If you have any questions about the ingredients leave a comment in the comment section at the bottom of this post or email me at [email protected]

Fresh-Squeezed Lemonade Ingredients:

  • Sugar
  • Water
  • Lemons 
Lemonade in a glass. Lemon slices sit in the glass. Lemonade sits in the background next to lemons.

Homemade, Fresh-Squeezed Lemonade Recipe Frequently Asked Questions: 

Now that we learned some history and facts about this favorite drink in the South, I want to answer some questions you may have as well! If I do not answer your question, feel free to leave a comment in the section below or email me at [email protected]

Can You Make Other Recipes Using Lemonade?

There are tons of different recipes you can make using lemonade! One of my favorites includes my lemonade soju cocktail recipe. You can find it on the blog

Does This Lemonade Recipe Contain Major Allergens? (Gluten, Soy, Etc.)

Before listing all of the major allergens, I want to state that all of my recipes are naturally gluten-free. On this blog, I only use and recommend gluten-free ingredients and brands. That being said, I list gluten as a potential allergen when necessary– this is because many Korean ingredients (such as soy sauce, gochujang, and doenjang) contain gluten unless you specifically buy gluten-free versions. Not only is this true for gluten, but it is true for other major allergens as well. As such, I always list allergy substitutions in the next section of my post. 

This recipe does not contain 9 of the 9 major allergens. It does not contain: 

  • Peanuts
  • Fish
  • Crustacean Shellfish
  • Eggs
  • Milk (Dairy)
  • Sesame
  • Tree Nuts
  • Wheat (Gluten)
  • Soybean

This recipe does contain 0 of the 9 major allergens.

A side shot of this citrus drink in a glass. Lemon slices also sit in the glass. A pitcher sits in the background next to lemons.

Is This Lemonade Recipe Vegetarian or Vegan?

Excitingly, this recipe is naturally vegetarian and vegan! 

Where Do I Buy the Ingredients?

You can buy all of the ingredients needed for this recipe at your local well-stocked grocery store. You can also buy your lemons at your local farmers’ market during lemon season!  

How Do I Store Leftovers?

Fresh-squeezed lemonade can be stored in your refrigerator for approximately a week. If you store it in a pitcher, make sure to cover the top with cling wrap if the pitcher does not have a top. 

I Hope You Enjoyed Learning How to Make This Homemade, Fresh-Squeezed Lemonade Recipe!!

In the end, I hope you enjoyed learning how to make this homemade, fresh-squeezed lemonade recipe! If so, let me know in the comment section!

If you would like to read more about cooking, you can find further recipes on this blog. I listed some of my favorite Carving A Journey recipes below! For reference, many recipes are influenced by my family’s blended Korean and Southern heritage.

Further Carving A Journey Drink Recipes:

If you have any questions or comments, you can also email me at [email protected]. And, finally, I would love to hear from you through our social media as well! You can follow me at @carvingajourney on Instagram, Facebook, and Pinterest. I also started a vlog YouTube channel with my husband! Or, if you would like more articles like these, you can subscribe to the blog by joining the mailing list. Let me know if you try making this fresh-squeezed lemonade recipe! Thank you so much for stopping by!

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Homemade, Fresh-Squeezed Lemonade Recipe

Recipe by Emily
5.0 from 2 votes
Course: Beverages, RecipesCuisine: SouthernDifficulty: Easy


Prep time


Cooking time




  • Simple Syrup
  • 1 Cup Sugar

  • 1 Cup Water

  • Lemonade (to Add to Simple Syrup)
  • 2 Cups Lemon Juice

  • 3-5 Cups Water


  • Start making simple syrup by adding 1 cup of sugar with 1 cup of water together in a saucepan. Turn the heat to low and stir once in a while to help the sugar dissolve. Take off the heat once the sugar is dissolved.
  • While the simple syrup is coming together, juice and/or squeeze 2 cups of lemon juice and add to your pitcher.
  • Then, add the simple syrup to the pitcher.
  • Finally, add the extra water to your pitcher. I like 3 cups of water, but some find that a bit sour. Combine water until you are happy with the flavor.
  • Stir the lemonade together and chill in the refrigerator
  • Serve cold!

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Kait August 12, 2020 - 11:39 am

I absolutely love fresh squeezed lemonade! We always keep a pitcher in the fridge this time of year, and love adding gin or fresh strawberries. Using simple syrup is my favorite way to make it as well. It’s so much better than just mixing in the sugar cold.

Emily August 12, 2020 - 11:40 am

As someone who makes it often, have you ever made it with honey? Thinking of trying that out after a recommendation!

Becky August 12, 2020 - 9:24 am

There is nothing better than homemade lemonade! I need to get a good juicer or squeezer because squeezing all the lemons is definitely the worst part, haha.

Emily August 12, 2020 - 9:27 am

It is definitely worth the money to get a juicer or squeeze! It cut down on the time (and stinging hands!) If you get one, let me know what you choose!

Stephanie August 12, 2020 - 8:23 am

You had so many fun lemonade facts packed into this article, and I love it! It was great to learn about the history of the beverage, what it’s like in other countries in comparison to the US, and of course.. how to make it! I haven’t had a fresh lemonade in a LONG time. I’ll have to make this sometime soon!

Emily August 12, 2020 - 9:31 am

Thank you! It is definitely better than store bought versions! I was so surprised after all these years to taste the difference. It had been a LONG time for me too. I want to try making it with honey too

Lecy | A Simpler Grace August 12, 2020 - 7:13 am

There is literally nothing better than a glass of fresh lemonade on a hot day. I am definitely saving this recipe to make soon!

Emily August 12, 2020 - 9:33 am

Lemonade is sooooo thirst-quenching. It saved me this summer!

Caylee Connelly August 11, 2020 - 6:23 pm

Wow I had no idea about the origins of lemonade! This was so very interesting to read. We are big fans of it in our household so I will definitely have to give this a try!

Emily August 12, 2020 - 9:33 am

Food history is fascinating! I cannot believe how much culture is spread through food!

Kelsey Albert August 11, 2020 - 1:10 pm

Yum! This is literally perfect for summer! I will have to give it a shot soon.

Emily August 11, 2020 - 3:22 pm

Definitely the best during the summer!!!


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