Old Fashioned Pink Lemonade

Old fashioned homemade pink lemonade with fresh squeezed lemon juice, simple syrup of sugar and water, and cranberry juice for color. This pink lemonade is the cherry top to summer days.

  • Yield: Serves 6


  • 1 1/4 cup sugar (if using unsweetened cranberry juice, 1 cup if using sweetened)
  • 4 cups water (divided)
  • 1 cup cranberry juice
  • 1 cup lemon juice


1 Make a "simple syrup" by heating sugar and 1 cup of the water in a small saucepan until the sugar is completely dissolved. Remove from heat.

2 Stir together the remaining water, cranberry juice, lemon juice and simple syrup. Make adjustments to taste. Chill for an hour, or add ice to cool.

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  • mel

    Why not fresh squeezed lemons and fresh cranberries and some sugar. Just droppnthe fresh cranberries into a blender and pulverize and the add hot water and suger and blend again. Some a lot healthier than store bought juices.

  • Kate

    This is going to sound stupid but by lemon juice do you mean fresh squeezed? Or is there a brand of lemon juice I can buy? Thank you :)

    • Elise Bauer

      Hello Kate, we use fresh squeezed because we have lemon trees. You can buy lemon juice at the store, though I don’t know of any particular brand to recommend.

  • Isa

    The original pink lemonade was actually lemonade with coloring added. Legend has it that a circus vendor left a bucket of lemonade sitting out and a performer thought it was wash water and soaked his red tights in it. The vendor removed the tights and the lemonade was pink! He sold it anyway and, surprisingly, it sold better than regular lemonade.

  • bridget michele mckenzie remolde

    I love it so much, my family really enjoy it a lot.

  • Ron N.

    To simplify an earlier suggestion, why not peel the lemons, or “zest” them (remove the outer skin with a fine grater) before juicing. Then simply put them into the water/sugar before boiling, and then strain before adding to the pitcher.

  • Nick

    Most pink lemonade concentrates use grape skins to acheive the pink color. The grape skin acts like litmus paper. It is activated by the high ph of citric acid and turns the drink pink.

  • mistah charley, ph.d.

    My grandmother always used grape juice to color her pink lemonade.

  • Yvonne

    I tried your lemonade recipe. FANTASTIC! It was so sweet and tangy. A southern favorite!
    Shared this with my 2 sisters, LOVVVEEEDDD IIIITTTTT!!!!!

  • ~M

    I made this tonight as I had some leftover lemons and cran-raspberry juice (not that cocktail stuff with HFCS). YUMM! I’ll have to try a lime raspberry version, too!

  • Lorrie

    Thanks for this recipe! I made it tonight and shared with my family. We all thought it was very good.

  • immi

    This recipe is scrumpoius! Mmmm! But why not try a different fruit, I did lime and rasberry insted of cranberry and lemon, it was really nice!

  • Elise Bauer

    Hi Jonathan – whoa, that would supercharge the lemonade!

    Regarding the anonymous comment asking why make the sugar water a syrup first, the reason you do this is to make the sugar completely absorbed into the water. If you don’t make the syrup, you will usually find that the sugar tends to re-crystalize as the water cools and settle out to the bottom of your lemonade container.

  • Anonymous

    Can someone explain the purpose of turning the sugar water into a syrup rather than mixing it with the other ingredients as is?

  • jonathan

    A shot of grenadine also does the trick if you’re out of, can’t get or don’t like cranberry juice. Another way to punch up the lemon quotient is to remove the outer rind (not the bitter white pith) from the lemon, pulse it with the sugar in your mini chop, shake out the sugar through a mesh strainer, and proceed to make the simple syrup from there…