If you have ever had pink lemonade in a cafe, you may have wondered what makes this extraordinary beverage so bright in color. Pink lemonade, as the name suggests, is usually a delicious pink color, but why? Lemons are yellow and lemonade is usually clear or almost clear, so what makes this drink so bright?
What makes pink lemonade pink? Pink lemonade can be given its color by a variety of different colorants, some natural, and some manmade. Common options include crushed raspberries, strawberries, grenadine, or cranberry juice. You can also use a drop of red food dye, well mixed into the liquid to achieve the bright hue.
What Makes Pink Lemonade Pink?
The usual colorants for pink lemonade include raspberries or raspberry syrup, strawberries or strawberry syrup, or sometimes cranberry juice or cherry juice. Grenadine is another popular option and is very frequently used to color drinks. All of these have a bright red or pink hue that will mix with the clear lemonade and change its appearance.
Pink lemonade can also be made pink by using artificial colorants, but this is more common with commercially manufactured lemonade. If you are making your lemonade at home, you will probably be using a natural colorant, and any of the above options should work well.
What Else Goes in Pink Lemonade?
Pink lemonade often includes cold water, lemons, ice, and sugar, although the quantities of these ingredients can vary depending on your tastes. Some people like to add other ingredients, and some make lemonade with very little sugar, or with other sweeteners instead.
In general, however, lemonade is simply water, lemon, and sugar, and it will only become pink if you stir an additional ingredient into it – such as grenadine.
Does It Matter Which Coloring You Use?
You should choose your coloring with care, because it will make a difference to how the drink tastes. Some flavors are stronger than others, and some artificial colors may not add any flavor at all. You should therefore choose according to your drink preferences.
Many people enjoy lemonade with an addition of raspberry and strawberry, and if you are among them, you might find that crushing some fresh fruit or adding a berry-based syrup to your lemonade is the best way to achieve that pink hue.
Cranberry juice is another good way to get the color, but will lend the lemonade a tarter taste, since cranberries are sharper than either raspberries or strawberries. You might need to add a little extra sugar to counteract this taste if you don’t enjoy it.
If you don’t like berry flavoring at all, you might prefer to add grenadine, which was originally made from pomegranate juice, but is now usually made from a mixture of artificial colors, citric acid, and high fructose corn syrup.
Grenadine can lend a delicious sweetness to your lemonade, but it will also alter the flavor. You should decide which of these natural colors works best for your tastes before buying one to add to your lemonade.
If you don’t like any of them, consider other pink juices, such as pomegranate juice or cherry juice.
Can You Make Fruit Syrups at Home?
If you want a raspberry or strawberry syrup, you might be pleased to learn that you can make this yourself at home, and it doesn’t take much work. This is a great option if you want to serve pink lemonade on a regular basis.
To make syrup at home, add a cup of sugar, ¾ of a cup of raspberries, and 2/3 of a cup of water to a small saucepan, and bring it to a boil. Stir gently until the sugar has completely dissolved, and then reduce the heat and simmer until the raspberries start to disintegrate. This takes about 10 minutes.
Put a strainer over a heat-proof bowl and pour the raspberry mixture through it. Use a spoon to gently crush any raspberries that haven’t broken up, releasing the juice, and then discard the remaining solids in the sieve.
When you have finished, allow the syrup to cool to room temperature, and then refrigerate until it is chilled. It can then be added to lemonade. If you prefer strawberry syrup, you can swap the raspberries for strawberries and use the same recipe.
How Much Coloring Do You Need?
The amount of coloring needed will depend on how strong the colorant is. You can add just a small drop of commercial food coloring to create pink lemonade, whereas you may need a tablespoon or two of raspberry syrup to achieve the same effect.
It also depends on how dark you want your lemonade to be. If you want really bright pink lemonade, you will need more coloring, whereas pale pink can be achieved with just a dash or two of syrup.
Should You Use Food Dye?
Food dye is probably the easiest way to make your lemonade pink instead of clear, but it may not be the healthiest. Many people are now looking for ways to avoid artificial coloring, and if you don’t need it, it may be better not to add it just for the sake of making your drink turn pink.
If you really want pink lemonade and all you have is red food coloring, it’s very unlikely to hurt you to add a drop to the pitcher. However, you might prefer to try natural options in the future, even if they slightly alter the taste of the lemonade.
Mix in some extra sugar if you find that they make the drink too tart, and try the different options to work out which you like best – you may find cherry juice suits you even if you aren’t fond of grenadine, or vice versa.
Many people love pink lemonade and view it as a top summer drink, but it does require you to alter the naturally clear lemonade with some kind of pink substance. Fortunately, there are lots of different options that may work for you, and no matter which you choose, you should get delicious, refreshing pink lemonade at the end!