Pink Lemonade Recipe

Pink lemonade in glasses and in a pitcher, garnished with lemons

The Spruce Eats / Julia Hartbeck

Prep: 10 mins
Cook: 0 mins
Total: 10 mins
Servings: 6 servings
Yield: 8 cups
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
338 Calories
1g Fat
90g Carbs
2g Protein
Show Full Nutrition Label Hide Full Nutrition Label
Nutrition Facts
Servings: 6
Amount per serving
Calories 338
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 1g 1%
Saturated Fat 0g 0%
Cholesterol 0mg 0%
Sodium 33mg 1%
Total Carbohydrate 90g 33%
Dietary Fiber 4g 15%
Total Sugars 77g
Protein 2g
Vitamin C 96mg 478%
Calcium 56mg 4%
Iron 1mg 5%
Potassium 335mg 7%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

This lemonade recipe couldn't be more simple and refreshing. It's the answer to your summer nostalgia and perfect for serving at barbecues with Spatchcocked Barbecue Chicken or Slow Cooker Barbecue Beef Short Ribs. If you're not a fan of cranberry juice you could choose to use pomegranate juice instead. This will still create a beautiful pink hue and provide an additional tart flavor.

The history of lemonade is a complicated one. The existence of lemons dates back to about 8 million years ago, with the earliest version of lemonade being made in Egypt made from fermented barley combined with mint, rue, black pepper, and citron leaf. According to How Stuff Works, "By the 18th century, lemonade had made its way to America along with waves of European immigrants. During the Victorian era, the women's temperance movement pushed lemonade as an alternative to alcohol. One Sunkist slogan of the day read: "Good-bye to liquor, here's to lemonade." From 1877-1881, the White House banned alcohol from all state dinners and other functions. Although President Rutherford B. Hayes made the decision himself as a way to court the Prohibition Party, critics of the ban dubbed his wife Lucy, a renowned teetotaler, "Lemonade Lucy," and the moniker stuck. It's fun to imagine how lips must have puckered when in lieu of alcohol she might have served Isabella Beeton's lemonade recipe from the 1861 Victorian classic "The Book of Household Management."

As for how pink lemonade was first introduced, the story goes that a New York Times obituary for Henry E. Allott credits him with inventing pink lemonade. According to this story, Allot accidentally dropped some red cinnamon candies into a big batch of regular lemonade, turning the beverage pink. As the beverage evolved, the introduction of cranberry juice and other rose-colored juices took the place of the cinnamon candies to create a pink-hued, tart, refreshing drink for all to enjoy.

"This lemonade recipe is very refreshing and easy to make with the perfect balance of sweet and sour. I like my lemonade to be on sour side, but if you prefer it sweeter just add more sugar. If you could resist drinking it all, keep the rest in the fridge for couple days." - Tara Omidvar

Pink Lemonade/tester image
A Note From Our Recipe Tester


  • 2 cups granulated sugar

  • 5 cups water; 2 cups hot, 3 cups cold, divided

  • 1 cup cranberry juice

  • 2 cups freshly squeezed lemon juice

  • Lemon slices, for garnish

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    Pink lemonade ingredients in bowls

    The Spruce Eats / Julia Hartbeck

  2. In a large pitcher add the sugar and 2 cups hot water. Stir until the sugar dissolves. Let the mixture cool to room temperature.

    Sugar and water mixture in a pitcher with a stirring spoon

    The Spruce Eats / Julia Hartbeck

  3. Add the cranberry juice, lemon juice, and the remaining 3 cups cold water.

    Cranberry juice, lemon juice and water added to the sugar mixture in a pitcher

    The Spruce Eats / Julia Hartbeck

  4. Serve over ice garnished with lemon slices.  

    Pink lemonade in a glass, garnished with a lemon slice, and in a pitcher

    The Spruce Eats / Julia Hartbeck

Recipe Variation

For a fun twist, consider using multiple juices like pomegranate and cherry or mango and cranberry. The mix of flavors will add dimension to your lemonade and make for an even more refreshing treat than the original.

What is the pink in pink lemonade?

The pink hue in pink lemonade comes from the addition of cranberry juice. However, some choose to use cherry or pomegranate juice instead.

What's the difference between pink lemonade and strawberry lemonade?

Pink lemonade is a traditional lemonade with the addition of cranberry juice, while strawberry lemonade is made by actually pureeing fresh strawberries and combining with lemon juice, sugar, and water.

Article Sources
The Spruce Eats uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  1. Tatro C. The Fascinating History of Lemonade. How Stuff Works. Updated Feb 22, 2021.