What Is Pink Lemonade?

Pink lemonade is a rose-tinted beverage made from lemon juice, sugar, water, and some sort of red or pink dye (natural or artificial) for coloring. Natural food colorings typically used include cranberry juice, grenadine, and crushed strawberries.

Real pink lemons, called variegated pink-fleshed Eureka lemons, do exist. But pink lemonade usually isn’t made with their juice.

The pink drink first appeared in the United States around the mid-1800s, though its origins and inventor are sometimes disputed. In one story, red cinnamon hearts accidentally were added to a batch of lemonade at a carnival concession. But according to carnival historian Joe Nickell in his 2005 book Secrets of the Sideshows, a man named Pete Conklin who ran a circus lemonade and peanut concession actually was the one who invented the drink. One day in 1857, while Conklin was making regular lemonade, he ran out of water. In desperation, he used the pink water from a tub that one of the bareback riders had used to wash her red tights. Unfazed, Conklin added some lemon slices and sold the concoction as “strawberry lemonade,” promptly doubling his sales. And, as they say, when life gives you lemons ….