Pink lemonade is one of the Summertime drinks that everyone just seems to love. It’s one part sweet, two parts tart, and it can even be frozen. It is often turned the color pink because of other juices that are added to the drink, which can be cherries, cranberries, or strawberries. Grenadine or even food dyes can also make the drink pink. How was this drink invented?
Did Laundry Water Actually Create the First Pink Lemonade?
The year is 1857. Instead of automobiles, people get around on horses if they need to somewhere quickly. There’s a man named Pete Conklin and it’s hot outside. Not just warm, but the kind of hot that makes you feel like you just took a punch to the gut. Riding a horse can be difficult and it chafes the legs when you do it for a long time. That’s why many horse riders wear tights under their clothing.
After a long day of riding, a rider takes his red tights off and puts them into a bucket of water to clean them. He finishes up his laundry, but leaves the water bucket out. Conklin is thirsty. He has some lemons to make lemonade, but he doesn’t have any water close by. Spotting the bucket, he hurriedly combines the lemons with the water, which is stained pink, and as the story goes, pink lemonade was born. Some story variations say Conklin was at the Circus.
There are a couple of issues with this story. First of all, the dyes that were used in clothing, if consumed, would likely make you sick. Conklin wouldn’t likely drink this willingly. Secondly, if there was water for laundry, then a water pump was likely nearby, especially if there were lemon trees. He’d get fresh water, not used water.
Did Cinnamon Candies Make the First Pink Lemonade?
In the obituary for Henry Allot, the New York Times mentioned that he created pink lemonade because of accidentally dropping a couple cinnamon candies into his drink. Remarkably, his story involves the Circus as well. At the age of 15, Allot ran away with a Circus and worked a lemonade concession stand. He was mixing lemonade one day and out popped the cinnamon candies. The lemonade sold very well, so he kept making it.
Another circus man, WHA Tobey, has also laid a claim to the invention of pink lemonade. What we do know about the drink is this. It first appeared in the middle of the 19th century in New York. It was primarily seen at the different fairs and traveling circuses that would tour the area and by 1869, it was being sold be street vendors on the streets of New York City.
Did Pete Conklin invent lemonade? Was it Allot instead? Maybe Tobey really inspired the drink? Whatever the case may be, you can find pink lemonade in the frozen drink section, next to the orange juice, and in plenty of other places at your local store. The next time you drink some, toast these three potential inventors of pink lemonade for a job well done.