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The History of Lemonade

Lemons are thought to have first been cultivated in modern-day northwestern India. Along with other fruits, they were considered status symbols in ancient Mediterranean culture. Citrus drinks date back to Egypt in the early centuries of the common era. Lemonade specifically is mentioned in writings from France in the 1600s and showed up in England by the 1800s. In America, the Women’s Christian Temperance Union promoted lemonade as an alternative to alcohol in the late 1800s. There are also mentions of the drink in earlier writings from the Civil War era. President Hayes, who served from 1877 to 1881, banned alcohol in the White House and his wife Lucy famously served non-alcoholic beverages instead, including drinks using lemons. She even picked up the nickname “Lemonade Lucy” and was known as such by later generations. The drink became quite popular and a recipe for Iced Lemonade even appears in a cookbook from 1891. Dressed-up versions of the drink are popular today, but they were also popular in the past. An article from 1910 references a number of tasty alternatives to standard lemonade, including a lemonade-iced tea mixture with mint, strawberry lemonade, and pineapple lemonade. Over time, lemonade stands became a popular activity among enterprising children during the warmer months. Of course, the popularity of lemonade has continued to endure and it is now heavily associated with summer and relaxation.

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