A Brief History of Lemonade

Tall iced lemonade glass mint leaf garnish beside ice cubes on white countertop

Even in a world as politically fractured as ours is at the moment most people can still agree on at least one thing: there’s nothing like a nice cold lemonade on a hot day. Testament to that is the fact that our Sparkling CBD Lemonade is one of our most popular CBD beverages year after year. But the enduring popularity of lemonade begs an interesting question that isn't addressed very often or very well: where did lemonade come from? Who was the first person to combine water, lemon juice and a sweetener to create the simple refreshment enjoyed these days by billions of people around the world? In this post, the CBD Beverage Blog writers are going to put on our researcher's hats and find out.

Our Sparkling CBD Drink Wasn't the First Take on Lemonade

As hard as it is to admit those of us at Colorado's Best Drinks did not invent lemonade. The genetic record indicates that lemon-like citrus fruits have been around for millions of years. The irony is that trying to pin down when someone first had the idea of creating what we call lemonade is much more difficult than tracking the genetic origins of lemons. But we’ll give it a try nonetheless.

Did Ancient Aliens Invent Lemonade?

If you listen to the quasi-science on cable TV these days you might come away convinced that aliens, not hard-working, smart and savvy Egyptians built the pyramids. Why do we mention this? Because there’s evidence that the Egyptians may also have been the first, or at least among the first, to enjoy a lemonade-type beverage.

Did they receive the recipe for lemonade from the pyramid-obsessed aliens, or did they come up with it themselves? Evidence suggests the latter (although we sense a topic for a future documentary “Alien Lemonade Revealed”).

Back to Earth

Aliens aside, the evidence for an Egyptian source comes from the notebooks of a medieval traveler who wrote about the Egyptian taste for a concoction called “qatarmizat”, which consisted of lemon juice, water and either honey or sugar. Qatarmizat is still enjoyed today, but whether it was in fact the first true lemonade is open for debate.

Also open for debate is how long the Egyptians have been consuming qatarmizat. Some sources say it’s been around since the 5th century AD. Other sources say it was first enjoyed around 1000 AD. In either case that would mean it’s well-positioned to lay claim to being the first real lemonade.

Enter the Romans

But wait! As is usually the case when it comes to ancient things there is also evidence that the Imperial Romans may have beaten everyone else to the lemonade punch. Frescos found in aristocratic homes from 2,000 years ago depict lemon orchards. Mosaics from the same time depict lemon trees and bushels of lemons.

There are even some mosaics that show lemons in close proximity to glasses half-filled with a beverage of uncertain origin. Are these ancient glasses of lemonade? Maybe. But as of this writing, it's not possible to say with absolute certainty.


Whether the Romans or Egyptians were the first to enjoy a cool glass of lemonade is an issue that may be impossible to resolve. But the closer we get to our time the clearer things become.

It is known that in August of 1630 vendors began selling a truly modern version of lemonade in Paris. Made from lemon juice, honey and naturally sparkling water (as opposed to carbonated water that was invented a century later) this new beverage soon became all the rage with the Parisian upper crust. Eventually, access to the new drink expanded and it became so popular that it even spawned the creation of a lemonade guild: the Compagnie de Limonadiers.

When the aforementioned carbonated water was invented 100 years later by British inventor Joseph Priestley, the true precursor to Sparkling CBD Sodas was born. Its popularity swept across the British Isles and caught the attention of a German jeweler named Johann Schweppe who would go on to mass market his own brand of carbonated lemonade in the early 1800s.

The Rise of the American Lemonade Stand

As was usually the case during the Victorian age, whatever became popular in Europe eventually found its way across the pond and took on a new, slightly altered life in the US. Lemonade is no exception. Most historians agree that lemonade made its way to the New World with the waves of immigrants who landed on these shores during the latter part of the 19th century.

The rise of lemonade in the US coincided nicely with the temperance movement of the late 19th and early 20th centuries. The temperance movement would turn out to be one of the most successful social movements in American history culminating in the passage of the 18th amendment to the constitution which banned the “manufacture, sale, or transportation of intoxicating liquors”.

Although prohibition would eventually be overturned it proved to be a boon to lemonade sales and helped ensure the drink would find a permanent place in the national zeitgeist.


At Colorado's Best Drinks, we are all-in on lemonade. As we mentioned at the outset our CBD Sparkling Lemonade is one of the most popular CBD beverages, giving even our top-selling Sparkling CBD Soda a run for its money. To learn more about our Sparkling CBD Lemonade or to order it for your next get-together use the contact form on our website or write to us at