Most lemonade varieties can be separated into two distinct types: cloudy and clear; each is known simply as "lemonade" (or a cognate) in countries where dominant.[self-published source?] Cloudy lemonade, generally found in North America and South Asia, is traditionally a homemade drink using lemon juice, water, and a sweetener such as cane sugar or honey. In the United Kingdom and Australia, clear lemonade, which is typically also carbonated, dominates.
The earliest written evidence of lemonade has been found in Egypt, dated to around AD 1000. It is believed that the fruit was introduced from Asia around AD 700. Here, a drink made with lemons, dates, and honey was enjoyed by peasants, and bottles of lemon juice with sugar, known as qatarmizat were imported and consumed locally.
In 1676, a company known as Compagnie de Limonadiers was founded in Paris. Having been granted monopoly rights to sell lemonade, vendors roamed the streets serving the drink in cups from tanks on their backs.
While carbonated water had been invented by Joseph Priestley in 1767, the first reference found to carbonated lemonade was in 1833 where the drink was widely available in British refreshment stalls. R. White's Lemonade, which is now produced and sold by Britvic, has been sold in the UK since 1845.
The predominant form of lemonade found in the US, Canada, and India, cloudy lemonade, also known as traditional or old fashioned lemonade in the UK and Australia, is typically non-carbonated and made with fresh lemon juice; however commercially produced varieties are also available. Generally served cold, cloudy lemonade may also be served hot as a remedy for congestion and sore throats, frozen, or used as a mixer.
Traditionally, children in US and Canadian neighborhoods to start lemonade stands to make money during the summer months. The concept has become iconic of youthful summertime Americana to the degree that parodies and variations on the concept exist across media. References can be found in comics and cartoons such as Peanuts, and the 1979 computer game Lemonade Stand.
A popular variation of cloudy lemonade, pink lemonade, is created by adding additional fruit juices, flavors, or food coloring to the recipe. The invention of pink lemonade was credited to Henry E. "Sanchez" Allott in his obituary in The New York Times, saying he had dropped in red cinnamon candies by mistake.
The predominant form of lemonade in the UK and Australia is a clear, lemon-flavoured carbonated beverage. Schweppes and R. White's Lemonade are common brands, and shops usually carry a store branded lemonade as well. Schweppes uses a blend of lemon and lime oils. Other fizzy drinks (or pop) which are both lemon and lime flavoured may also sometimes be referred to as lemonade, such as Sprite and 7 up. There are also speciality flavours, such as Fentimans Rose Lemonade, which is sold in the UK, the US, and Canada. Shandy, a mixture of beer and clear lemonade, is often sold pre-bottled, or ordered in pubs.
In India and Pakistan, where it is commonly known as nimbu paani, and in Bangladesh, lemonades may also contain salt and/or ginger juice. Shikanjvi is a traditional lemonade from this region, and can also be flavored with saffron, cumin and other spices.
Limonana, a type of lemonade made from freshly squeezed lemon juice and mint leaves, is a widely popular summer drink in Israel, Jordan, Lebanon, and Syria. Limonana was created in the early 1990s in Israel after an advertising agency promoted the then-fictitious product to prove the efficacy of advertising on public buses. The campaign generated so much consumer demand that restaurateurs and manufacturers began really producing the drink, which would become very popular. In Northern Africa, a drink called cherbat is made of lemon, mint, and rose water.
In France, it is common for restaurants to offer citron pressé, an unmixed version of lemonade in which the customer is given lemon juice, syrup and water separately to be mixed in their preferred proportions.
The high concentration of citric acid in lemon juice is the basis for popular culture recommendations of consumption of lemonade to prevent calcium-based kidney stones. Studies have not demonstrated that lemonade causes a sustained improvement of urine pH, increased citric acid concentration in urine, reduction in supersaturation by stone-forming salts, or prevention of recurrent stones.
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- Of the Street Sale of Ginger-Beer, Sherbet, Lemonade,&C., from London Labour and the London Poor, Volume 1, Henry Mayhew, 1851; subsequent pages cover the costs and income of street lemonade sellers.