No drink says “summer” more than a nice, tall glass of ice-cold lemonade! Just thinking about the sour/sweet drink makes my mouth water and think of sitting on the stoop, people-watching, and watching the sun set. Although the strict definition of lemonade is just any drinkable mixture containing lemon juice, sugar, and water, the American version almost always uses still water to make the mix, while in Britain, France, and other parts of Europe, the suffix “-ade” means it’s a carbonated drink. Either way you sip it, the drink should always have the distinct taste of lemon–whether it be freshly squeezed, frozen, or even a powdered mix–and have enough sugar to balance out the natural sour taste of the citrus, but not too much as to make it a sugar water with a twist. You would think this could be a pretty easy balance to strike, but in our sugar-saturated society, we’ve been taught that the sweeter, the better. Not so! The highest lemonades are the ones with more lemon-, and less -ade. And, it goes without saying, also use the freshest ingredients, like freshly-squeezed lemons. If you want a super sweet drink or something with convenience, pick up a jar of Country Time. But if you want the authentic lemonade experience, read on!
While the original idea to put lemon juice, sugar, and water together has existed since before time, pink lemonade has only been around since the mid-19th century, when it was created by a carnival worker. A whimsical take on lemonade, “pink” lemonade originally meant that fresh summer fruit–like strawberries, raspberries, or another “pink” delight–had been muddled in along with the lemon juice to give it an extra sweet flavor and the unique, attrative color. Nowadays most pink lemonades are pink through the use of food coloring. Not so at Kitchenette! This absolutely charming brunch and bakery restaurant in TriBeCa makes their fresh pink lemonade “pink” with the help of crushed blackberries and raspberries, which adds an extra punch of sweet and tart to the lemonade mix. (For an extra dollar, you can also get fresh strawberries added to the mix!) The downtown location has just reopened after renovations, so be sure to get in there and try a sip for yourself! And if you do, get your lemonade to stay: they serve it in homey mason jars, adding to the feeling of homemade that can only come from real, freshly-squeezed lemonade. It accompanies their light, fresh lunch menu perfectly–so go ahead and order a glass, or take the plunge and get a whole pitcher for the table!
156 Chambers St (between Hudson St & Broadway)
“All too often, what gets passed off as lemonade is a sorry disappointment. A glass of sour water with wayward floating seeds, for example. Or a sugary drink lacking that requisite citrusy tang. So, if you want to wean the kids off Country Time, where do you head? Try Kitchenette, where the pitcher-perfect pink lemonade recipe comes from co-owner Ann Nickinson’s grandmother. The refreshing quaff, which gets its fun tint from a combination of blackberries and raspberries, is served in mason jars—a fitting match with the restaurant’s country-kitsch decor.”–Time Out New York
“Remember your first pink lemonade? Chefs Lisa Hall and Ann Nickinson recreate that wondrous moment by blending a mixture of lemon, water, sugar, pink and pure magic, served in a mason jar.”–CBS New York
Some reviews from Yelp.com:
“Unfortunately, the frozen hot chocolate he loved was no longer on the menu, but I quickly found solace in a big mason jar of strawberry lemonade. This was the real deal, thick and pulpy with strawberry seeds and a natural sweetness that’s hard to fake. His huge mug of cafe au lait made everything all better again for him, too.”–Megan C.
“Came here for brunch on Saturday at 12:30pm. About 6 groups ahead of us, but there was space at the bar so we just sat down right away and ordered a strawberry lemonade (very yummy)”–Kathy L.
But while Kitchenette’s pink lemonade might make you feel like an innocent summer kid again, sometimes you don’t want that sweet, pure, innocent taste for Lemonade Day–sometimes you want to celebrate the fact that you’re not a kid anymore. Don’t resign yourself to a bottle of Hard Mike’s Lemonade–that’s like, the Country Time of alcohol. Completely too sweet (and this is from the girl whose signature drink is the amaretto sour!) for anyone to enjoy more than one. You’ve got to look a little deeper to find some great mixed drinks in the city using fresh lemonade, top-shelf liquors, and the ingenuity and creativity only a new York cocktail could muster. Double Wide bar takes the cake for a lemonade-inspired cocktail, making the popular Arnold Palmer even more beloved by adding liquor to the mix, lol! They offer a sweet tea lemonade with Firefly sweet tea vodka and bourbon, giving the drink a super Southern feel. Just like Kitchenette, Double Wide gives that extra inch of authenticity, serving their Bourbon Lemonades in mason jars, making you feel like you’re having super sweet moonshine in the middle of the East Village. And at $8 a pop ($6 if you’re lucky enough to find it during happy hour), it’s one of the most affordable cocktails in the entire city. It’s almost worth it to skip the sweet Kitchenette for brunch and go straight to the hard stuff for the day!
505 E 12th St (between Avenue A & Avenue B)
“Dallas transplant Christen Hagan (d.b.a.) channels her roots at this Texas-style East Village bar. One side of the space sports blue-fence paneling and cutout “barn” windows lit by filament bulbs, while a gas-station-style star logo covers the back wall. Ten taps dispense a rotating selection of brews (such as Peak Organic IPA, Abita Purple Haze), plus drinkers can opt for Southern-inspired cocktails (sweet-tea-bourbon lemonade, a maple-bourbon sidecar) or sipping spirits, including a wide selection of bourbons, single-malt Scotches and tequilas.”–Time Out New York
“Drinks are appropriately no-nonsense: 10 taps pour the likes of Wolaver’s, Abita Amber, and Post Road Pumpkin, non-drafts include Strongbow tallboys and Highlife, and there’s an entire liquor rack dedicated entirely to bourbons, single malt Scotches, and tequilas, which go into house ‘tails like Sweet Tea Bourbon Lemonade w/ ginger beer & mint, and the fresh lime/cherry-infused rum Route 66, getting you many more kicks than a major artery for migrants during the Dust Bowl.”–Thrillist
Some reviews from Yelp.com:
“Our bartender was very nice and served the drinks with a huge smile on her face. My personal favourite is still the same drink which I tried the first time. Sweet tea bourbon lemonade served in jar just makes my eyes pop out, it’s a very unique drink and is very refreshing too. Personally I believe sweet mint does wonders to drink a when used in a right fashion.”–Vineet S.
“I fell in love with this joint thanks to a CMYE with our fabulous new Community Manager, Mr. Ruggy. The happy hour prices are right; I literally said, “Huh…WHAT?” when the bartender told me my cider was only $4. Mixed drinks seemed to run $3 – 6, with delectable choices such as their Sweet Tea Bourbon Lemonade (served in a sweet glass mug, but of course) and their Route 66 Cherry Limeade.”–Allison C.
Make sure you check out the updated NYC Food Holidays Map to find this most recent holiday!