Bottoms Up! – Traditional Southern Lemonade

Happy July 4th everyone! Naturally, I wanted to take this day as an opportunity to share a truly original US recipe with you. Burgers, potato salad and peach cobbler were the first ideas on my list of American recipes. However, when I rode my bike to the drugstore to pick up some eyedrops (interesting information alert!) I almost fainted at the heat. And when I was afterwards lying on the couch like a dead animal – Austrians aren’t necessarily used to a whopping 32° Celsius (about 90° Fahrenheit) –  I resolved on making something a little bit lighter than burgers or ribs. Maybe a cool drink? Sounds perfect.

When I think of traditional drinks in the US there is always a certain picture, which comes to my mind: A perfectly charming young woman in a red polkadot dress on a patio in South Carolina saying: “Hey, y’all! Care for a glass of cold lemonade?”

Lemonade is a beverage known around the world, yet it is especially strongly associated with Southern US culture. Even in movies, hosts in Georgia, Louisiana, Florida (you name it) will – polite as they are – mostly offer a glass of some beverage as soon as any guests set foot on their doorstep – this beverage mostly being a glass of  sweet tea or cold lemonade. Aside from how it may be in reality, this cliché of Southerners and lemonade has somehow stuck with me. Thus, I couldn’t find anything more perfect to share with you today than a recipe for sticky-sweet, tangy, ice-cold traditional Southern lemonade. And who would seem more perfect to provide me with a truly original recipe than Paula Deen, American celebrity chef from Savannah, Georgia – a true Southerner, who uses the both the phrase “y’all” and butter quite excessively. I compared her way of preparation with several others on the Internet and found out that there isn’t much variation. Maybe because it’s just dead easy to make.

A few final comments: Beware that one distinctive characteristic of traditional Southern lemonade is its sweetness. So if you like your lemonade more sour than sweet (like I do) just cut down on the sugar. Also: Enjoy with lots and lots of ice. I’ll stopp babbling now. Let’s go!

Ingredients (these measurements will yield a few liters of lemonade)

2 cups of sugar (400g) – I used less!

1 cup of hot water (235 ml)

2 cups of lemon juice (about 1/2 liter)

1 gallon (3,5 liters) of cold water – you really don’t need more than 2 liters of cold water!

1 sliced lemon


1) In a big pitcher, place sugar and hot water and stir until sugar dissolves.

2) Add freshly squeezed lemon juice and cold water and stir until well mixed.

3) Pour lemonade over ice and garnish with some mint leaves.

4) Enjoy!

So, no hesitating, no excuses (except for lemon allergies): You have to try this recipe for yourself sometime, it’s simple, refreshing and perfect for summer. Ideally, you could make it today in honor of Independence Day. That’s what I did, anyway. Even though I’m not from the US. It’s just a nice gesture, I think. That’s it for today.

Have fun y’all!

Just kidding.

Bon appetit.


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