Making Real Lemonade


Real, home-made lemonade is first mentioned in a play from the 17th Century called ‘The Parson’s Wedding’ and was sold in coffee houses at the time – and no they wouldn’t be called ‘Costa’ or ‘Starbucks’!

It’s thought that the recipe came to England originally from Italy and it became very popular in the 18th century when it was a refreshing summer drink for wealthy households.  During the 18th & 19th centuries, lemons & sugar became more affordable for the middle & lower classes and refreshment stalls became commonplace selling the refreshing, cloudy liquid to the masses.

In the 1840s it’s believed there were over 50 soft drink manufacturers in London alone.  Many were thought by then to use  proprietary essences & compounds in a sugar syrup rather than natural juices.  Home-made lemonade began to go into decline although it’s quite a popular ‘home-brew’ even now for some American children to sell by the roadside in summer to earn a little pocket money.

In Britain, the availability of the clear, sweet, fizzy drink called lemonade by certain manufacturers brought the demise of the ‘real’ stuff.  It is lacking the fruit juice and full of artificial sweeteners & preservatives and nothing like the original, flat, cloudy drink.

Here is a recipe for REAL Lemonade as made by many in the past.

To make around 1.75 litres (3 pints) of lemonade, you will need 6 lemons (unwaxed), about 150 grams of granulated sugar & water.


Wash the lemons well, then thinly pare their zest with a vegetable peeler or zester (make sure to just remove the top layer of yellow zest & avoid the bitter, pithy white underneath.

Place the zest in a large heatproof jug or bowl, then squeeze the juice from the lemons & add that too. (hint –  to ease squeezing juice from fruit, first roll the fruit apply pressure on a board to break down the juice holding sacs before cutting & squeezing).  Add the sugar and pour on 1.4 litres (2.5 pints) of boiling water & stir well.  Cover and leave to stand somewhere cool overnight.  Stir again & taste for sweetness.  Add more sugar if required.  Strain through a sieve.  This will keep in sterilised bottles in the fridge.  Sparkling mineral water can be added for gentle fizz if required before drinking.

More ‘How to’s’ to be added soon!



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