Pickle lemonade has been around since at least the 1800s, but it’s gained popularity in recent years thanks to its versatility and ease of preparation.
If you want to add some spice to your life this summer (or just need something different), here are all the details on how to make pickle lemonade.
What Is The Recipe For Pickle Lemonade?
The best thing about pickle lemonade is that there isn’t really a “recipe” per se.
There are three main ingredients – lemons, sugar, and pickles – plus a few other optional extras like ginger or spices.
But let’s break down each one separately so we can see exactly what goes into making this drink.
- Lemons – The lemon juice gives the drink its tartness, while the zest adds a little bit of sweetness.
- You can use regular lemons or Meyer lemons if you have them available.
- Sugar – This is where most people stop when they think of making pickle lemonade.
- Sugar brings out the natural sugars from the fruit, which makes it sweeter and more delicious than plain water would be.
- Pickles – Pickles bring flavor to everything they touch, including pickle lemonade.
- They also provide acidity, which helps balance out the sweet flavors of both the sugar and lemon.
- Optional Extras – Ginger, cinnamon, cloves, black pepper, and horseradish may be added to give additional flavor to the drink.
- These will vary depending on your personal taste preferences.
To start off, cut up half of a lime and mix it with two cups of ice cubes in an empty glass bottle.
Add one cup of white sugar and stir until dissolved.
Add the remaining lime halves along with two teaspoons of freshly squeezed lemon juice to the mixture, stirring well to combine.
Tip: Use fresh-squeezed lemon juice instead of bottled lemon juice for best results.
You should now have a clear lemonade liquid in the bottom of your glass bottle.
If not, add more ice and repeat steps 3 and 4 as needed.
Now comes the fun part.
Place ½ cup of sliced pickles into a jar and fill halfway full with cold water.
Allow the pickles to sit overnight before adding them to your pickle lemonade.
Once the pickles are sitting in their own brine, drain them and place them back into the jar.
Pour the lemonade over the top of the pickles and then cover the entire jar tightly with plastic wrap or aluminum foil.
Keep this covered for 12 hours before using it.
How Do You Make Pickle Lemonade?
This recipe calls for two main ingredients – pickles and lemon juice.
While these are both readily available, there are several other options that can be used if they aren’t what you have on hand or you don’t like them.
- Cucumber juice instead of lemon juice
- Lemon slices instead of lemons
- Frozen berries instead of fresh ones
- Raspberries instead of strawberries
- Grapefruit juice instead of lemon juice
You can also use a mix of juices such as orange and pineapple, strawberry and grapefruit, raspberry and lime, etc.
If you decide to go this route, measure out equal parts of each ingredient and follow the steps below to create your own unique flavor profile.
Step 1: Prepare your fruit cocktail
First, prepare your fruit cocktail by cutting up all the fruits into bite-sized pieces.
You can either cut each one individually or combine them together.
For example, you could slice up an entire pint of raspberries, or you could chop up half a cup of strawberries, along with 3/4 cup of blueberries and 2 cups of grapes.
Step 2: Add sugar
Next, pour your prepared fruit mixture into a large bowl and then stir in the sugar until mixed well.
The amount of sugar will depend on the type of fruit you choose to combine – more sugar means less tartness.
For instance, you might only need a teaspoon of sugar per cup of berries.
Step 3: Add the spices and vinegar
Once everything is combined, now you can start adding things like spices and vinegar.
Start off with a tablespoon of salt and then sprinkle in the black pepper, cayenne pepper, dried parsley flakes, cinnamon sticks, and any other herbs or spices you may prefer.
Then, add the distilled white vinegar to taste.
A good ratio would be about 1 part vinegar to 4 parts fruit mixture.
Step 4: Boil down the pickles
Now that everything is ready, you simply boil the liquid down so that it reduces to about half the original volume.
This ensures that the flavors develop without losing their potency over time.
Step 5: Serve the pickle lemonade
After boiling down the liquid, strain the mixture through cheesecloth, strainer, or even a coffee filter.
Once filtered, transfer the liquid back into a pitcher and serve immediately.
What Are The Ingredients For Pickle Lemonade?
A typical recipe calls for 1/4 cup distilled white vinegar, 2 cups water, 4 tablespoons sugar, 6 dill pickles cut into quarters, one large fresh or frozen orange or lime, and two lemons sliced into wedges.
You can find other recipes that call for more than six ingredients, but these are the basics.
The sugar helps balance out the acidity of the vinegar so that the drink doesn’t taste overly sour.
The citrus juice adds an extra layer of flavor while also adding color.
Pickled vegetables such as green beans, carrots, cauliflower, cucumbers, peppers, onions, and radishes give the beverage a nice crunch and texture.
You may have noticed there was no mention of salt in the original list of ingredients – why not? Salt tends to overpower most drinks, including pickle lemonade.
If you like your pickle lemonade salty, feel free to add additional salt when preparing the finished product.
Just keep in mind that if you choose to use salted pickles, you might want to up the amount of sugar by about half a tablespoon per quart.
Another common ingredient added to pickle lemonades is honey.
Honey sweetens the overall experience without making the drink too cloying.
You should definitely try both types of sweeteners before deciding which will work best for you.
How Do You Pickle Lemons?
You can find pickled lemons in grocery stores or specialty food shops.
They come in glass jars or plastic containers with labels that will tell you what kind of vinegar they were preserved in.
If there isn’t any information on the label, then assume the jar was preserved using white wine vinegar.
The easiest way to prepare pickle lemonade is by picking up a few lemons from your local store and making them into a quick batch of pickle lemonade.
However, if you have more time than money, you could also buy pre-made pickles instead of doing the whole process yourself.
There are many ways to pickle lemons, so let’s take a look at each method before we get started with our pickle lemonade recipe.
- Place fresh lemons cut side down and slice thin strips lengthwise along the top of the lemon.
- Make an X across the bottom of the lemon to help hold the slices together while slicing.
- Using tongs, carefully place one lemon slice upside down onto another piece of lemon and press firmly until the two pieces stick together.
- Repeat step 2 for as many lemons as needed.
- Use scissors to trim excess peel away from both ends of the lemon.
- You should now have a long cylinder of lemon flesh.
- Cut the lemon into small bite size chunks.
- In a large bowl, combine 1 cup water and ½ cup white wine vinegar.
- Add salt, sugar, and peppercorns and stir well.
- Pour mixture over sliced lemons and cover tightly with plastic wrap.
- Let sit overnight in refrigerator.
- Remove lemons from liquid, rinse off any remaining brine, and pat dry with paper towels.
- Serve chilled or room temperature.
What Is The Best Pickle Lemonade Recipe?
You can find several variations of pickle lemonade recipes online, so there really isn’t one “best” way to prepare them.
- Classic Pickle Lemonade – The most common method for making pickle lemonade involves mixing a jarred or homemade pickle juice with sugar syrup and pouring over ice cubes.
- Sweet Pickle Lemonade – You can also use honey instead of sugar syrup if that’s what floats your boat.
- However, if you like a little more zing, try adding a splash of lime juice as well.
- Spicy Pickle Lemonade – If you love heat, then you may want to give this variation a shot.
- Just mix up a batch of spicy pickle juice and pour it into a pitcher filled with fresh-squeezed lemon juice and sugar syrup.
- Add a dash of cayenne pepper and serve immediately.
- Homemade Pickle Juice – If you prefer to make things yourself, you can always make your own pickle juice from scratch.
- Here’s an easy recipe using only two ingredients.
- First get rid of any bad cucumbers by washing them thoroughly under cold running water.
- Then put them through a food processor until finely chopped.
- Commercial Pickle Juice – Pickling spices such as dill seeds, mustard seed, celery seeds, and turmeric are available in powdered form at many grocery stores these days.
- But if none of those appeal to you, don’t worry because you can still make your own pickle lemonade using store-bought pickle juice.
Keep reading below for tips on how to make pickle lemonade.
How Do You Make Sweet Pickle Lemonade?
This recipe calls for homemade pickles made from cucumbers and carrots.
To make these pickles, cut up two large cucumbers into 1/4-inch slices then slice off both ends and discard.
Cut each sliced half into quarters lengthwise, then peel away the skin using a vegetable peeler or paring knife.
Slice the peeled cucumber crosswise into thin strips, about 1/8 inch thick.
Peel one small carrot, then grate coarsely by hand or on a box grater.
Place the ingredients into separate bowls, cover them, and set aside.
- For the syrup, combine 3 cups sugar, 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice, 1 tablespoon salt, and 4 cups water in a medium saucepan over high heat.
- Bring mixture to a boil, stirring constantly until sugar dissolves completely, about 5 minutes.
- Meanwhile, place the remaining ingredients into a food processor or blender.
- Pulse until chopped finely enough that no pieces remain larger than 1/3-inch.
- Transfer the chopped vegetables to a bowl, pour the syrup over top, stir well, cover, and let sit overnight.
- The next day, transfer the mixture to a food mill fitted with fine mesh screen.
- You can also use a potato masher or fork to mash everything together.
- Transfer back to the same bowl as before and stir well.
- To serve, divide among mason jars and refrigerate until ready to drink.
How Do You Make Sour Pickle Lemonade?
Sour pickle lemonade can be made using any kind of pickles that have vinegar or acid in them, including dill cucumber, gherkins, mango chutney, and many more options available from local supermarkets.
Pickle lemonade recipes vary depending on which type of pickles you use, so if you’re planning to try out one of these recipes, take note of what ingredients they call for before purchasing anything.
To start off, you will need to prepare the pickles by rinsing them thoroughly under cold water to remove excess salt.
Once done, slice up your pickles into chunks and place them in a large bowl along with 2 cups of sugar and 1 cup of white vinegar.
Allow the mixture to sit overnight, stirring occasionally.
In the morning, strain the liquid through cheesecloth or a clean towel to separate the juice from the solids.
You should end up with about 3/4 cup of liquid left over.
If there isn’t enough liquid after straining the pickles, feel free to add some additional water until you reach the desired amount.
Now comes the fun part – adding flavor.
There are two ways to go about doing this: either mix the pickled juice directly with plain lemonade powder or create your own flavored syrup first.
For most pickle lemonades, you will likely find that mixing is simpler because it requires less work, but if you prefer, you can always follow the instructions below instead.
- Mix together equal parts of pickled juice and plain lemonade powder.
- Use as much or little as you like.
- The important thing to remember when making this combination is to not get too carried away with the addition of flavorings.
- Too much of a good thing can result in an overly strong taste, which might turn people off from trying your creation in the future.
- Alternatively, you could also choose to make your own flavored syrup.
- To do this, simply combine equal amounts of sugar and water in a saucepan on medium heat.
- Stir frequently while cooking until the sugar dissolves completely.
- Once the sugar has dissolved completely, bring the mixture to a boil and let simmer for 5 minutes.
- Remove the pan from the stove and allow the steam to escape for 5 minutes more, then pour the liquid into a pitcher to cool down.
When the syrup has cooled down, stir in the rest of the flavors.
These include things like fresh mint leaves, vanilla extract, cinnamon sticks, ginger root, ground cloves, cardamom pods, orange zest, star anise, and even whole peppercorns.
Taste the finished product and adjust according to preference.
What Is The Difference Between Pickle Lemonade And Regular Lemonade?
While both types of lemonades can usually be found in most grocery stores or convenience stores, there is one main difference that separates them: pickle juice.
Pickle lemonade is made from the juice from pickled vegetables like dill pickles or sweet relish, while regular lemonade uses fresh lemons or limes.
The taste of these two drinks differ because they use different ingredients.
For example, pickle lemonade contains no sugar or artificial flavorings, whereas regular lemonade often does contain preservatives such as sorbic acid or potassium sorbate.
The latter ingredient may also help prevent mold growth on the surface of the drink.
When making pickle lemonade, the goal is to get rid of any excess salt so that the drink doesn’t have an overly salty aftertaste.
That’s why we recommend using pickling liquid instead of table salt when preparing the recipe below.
Other differences between pickle lemonade and regular lemonade include the amount of fruit used to prepare each type of beverage.
- For pickle lemonade, 1 cup of water should be added to every 2 cups of pickling liquid.
- The end result will be a slightly sweeter cocktail than if you were to use lemonade concentrate, which would require only 1/4 cup of water per 2 cups of juice.
- For regular lemonade, 3 cups of pureed fruit should be used to prepare 4 servings of lemonade, rather than the usual 2 cups of juice required by other recipes.
Is Pickle Lemonade Good For You?
This drink is made by mixing pickles with fresh lemons, sugar, and water.
The result is a sweet and tangy beverage that can be enjoyed as either a cocktail or over ice if preferred.
It may sound strange, but there is actually scientific evidence that proves pickle lemonade improves overall health.
According to researchers from Kansas State University, pickle lemonade contains antioxidants which help reduce inflammation, fight cancer, and boost energy levels.
The benefits don’t end there – pickle lemonade also helps prevent heart disease because it lowers blood pressure and cholesterol levels.
In fact, research shows people who regularly consume pickle lemonade have lower triglyceride counts than those who don’t.
So, yes – pickle lemonade is definitely good for you, so long as you enjoy it responsibly.
How Do You Store Pickle Lemonade?
You can keep pickle lemonade fresh up until two weeks after making it if you use one teaspoon of citric acid per quart of water.
This amount will provide enough acidity that bacteria won’t grow over time.
Keep in mind that pickles tend to spoil quickly, so don’t wait too long before using them.
In addition, pickle lemonade should only be kept cold or frozen when it’s made ahead of time.
If you plan to drink it right away, it shouldn’t freeze solid because ice crystals could ruin the consistency of the beverage.
However, once the lemonade freezes, it becomes less appealing.
- 1 Jar
For The Dill Pickle Lemonade:
- 8-10 Ounces Mount Olive’s Pickle
- Fresh Lemonade
- 1 Quart Ice
- Pickles Spears For Garnishing
For The Fresh Lemonade:
- Sugar ½ cup
- 1 cup Lemon Juice
- 3 cups Cold Water
- Using the cutting board and chef’s knife, halve or quarter 10 to 12 lemons. Cut the lemons in half, right in the middle, to make juicing simpler.
- Use a lemon juicer to squeeze all the lemons into a measuring cup. Make sure there are no lemon seeds in the measuring cup, and if there are, take them out. If not, juice another cup of lemons until there is one cup total.
- One cup of lemon juice should be added to the pitcher.
- To measure the cold water, use the measuring cup. Add three cups of cold water and the lemon juice to the pitcher.
- Measure 12 cups of sugar using a measuring cup. Add lemon juice and cold water to the pitcher. To thoroughly mix it, use a long mixing spoon.
- By weighing 10 ounces of Mount Olive’s Dill Pickles, you may make 10 ounces of pickle juice. Fill the pitcher with the lemonade. Together nicely.
- Serve in a glass with pickle spears for decoration. You’ll enjoy it!