Who invented lemonade and when?

Hindus have been making lemonade for a long time. They call it shikanjvi, but the Europeans know the Indian drink better as “nimbu pani” – lemon water. True, it is prepared not only from lemon, but also from lime. Plus they add all kinds of spices from ginger to saffron.

  • The easiest shikinjwi recipe is to mix cold water with lemon juice, sugar, salt, ginger and pepper. Mix everything thoroughly and drink immediately.

When exactly lemonade appeared in India is unknown. But the prudent Egyptians carefully documented the history of the drink: in 700, lemons from Asia were first brought to Egypt. In the year 1000, they already drank lemonade in Egypt.

The papyri mentions that the drink was popular among the peasants. It was called “Katarmizat” (qatarmizat). This drink has outlived its creators and is successfully sold in modern Egypt.

The accounting and trading books of the Jewish community of Egypt prove that the Jews there drank a lot of lemonade throughout the 13th century and also exported it to other countries.

Photo: Depositphotos

In the XIV century, “Karatmizat” lost its popularity to the Qashqab. It is also based on lemonade, but this is already a complex drink made from fermented barley, mint, rue and black pepper. Moreover, usually the water for kashkab was insisted on the leaves of lemon and other citrus fruits, and not lemon juice was added to it.

In the 17th century, lemonade comes to Europe. The French were the first to discover it. The Compagnie de Limonadiers company was registered in Paris. They sell lemonade not yet in bottles, but poured into cups from cisterns. There are stationary tanks, like the well-known barrels of kvass, and there are mobile tanks – they are fixed on the backs of stronger guys, and they run around the city with them, treating everyone to a healthy and refreshing drink. Not free of charge, of course.

The usefulness of lemonade was immediately appreciated: historians record a decrease in mortality in France as the drink spread.

In France, an interesting situation has developed with lemonade. In addition to the lemonade itself, the country has existed for quite a long time “citronade” (citronnade), since in French lemon is called citron. The French brought this drink from their colonies in North Africa. In Algeria, Morocco and Tunisia, lemonade has been popular since the 12th century. Only the recipes were very different. Algerian sherbet al-karas (literally “lemon drink”) included milk, for example.

Morgan Weistling, Lemonade
Morgan Weistling, Lemonade

The base of the lemonade was rarely changed, and the additives depended on the imagination of the chef and the range of ingredients. Here is a recipe from 1654:

Take jasmine flowers in two hands and place them in 2-3 pints of water. Let it brew for 8-10 hours. Add six ounces of sugar per pint of water. Instead of jasmine, you can add orange, rose or carnation flowers. Or all at once. Now take the lemons, cut them up and squeeze the juice into the water. Then peel another lemon, cut it into slices and put in a mug. Pour a drink into a mug. Add more sugar if necessary.

In this case, a Parisian pint is indicated. It is almost equal to 1 liter. The ounce in the recipe is French, and even used until 1794. This means that it is equal to 30.5 grams.

Until the 17th century, lemonade was not real from our point of view. After all, the real one must contain such an ingredient as carbon dioxide. To hiss and bubble!

Gerard Terborh (ter Borh),
Gerard Terborh (ter Borh), “Glass of Lemonade”, 1660s.

The British were the first to learn to soda lemonade. In 1767, Joseph Priestley invented the saturator, a pump that pumps gas under pressure into water. Moreover, the gas was taken from the waste of beer production. While the beer was fermenting, it gave off a lot of carbon dioxide. The enterprising British did not want the gas to simply evaporate, and found commercial use for it. This is how soda lemonade was made. In England, soda kiosks appeared in 1833.

However, the more popular lemonade became, the fewer natural components remained in it. The whole world would not have enough lemons, citrons and limes! Therefore, I had to learn to synthesize acids and essences.

In the US, lemonade was made popular by women. The Union of Moderate Christian Women proclaimed the rejection of alcohol. Their motto was: “Goodbye, liquor! Hello lemonade! ” And in 1877, President Rutherford Hayes banned the use of alcohol at government events and replaced it with lemonade.

Peter I brought the not yet carbonated lemonade to Russia. Since the tsar liked the drink, everyone else liked it too. From sin.

I. S. Shchedrovsky,
I. S. Shchedrovsky, “The Reader on the Embankment and the Lemonade Merchant”, 1839

In 2018, the journal Nature published an article Genomics of the origin and evolution of Citrus (“Genomics of the origin and evolution of citrus fruits”). It says that fossil remains of a possible common ancestor of all citrus fruits have been found in China. The find is 8 million years old, the Miocene epoch. During this period, the ancestors of people already existed.

So it is possible that lemonade, or “citrusonade”, is much older than the Egyptian pyramids.


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