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Cooking with Fire

Cooking With Fire: Grilled Lemonade

Justin Cary

As with most great foods, lemonade got its start in ancient Egypt.

Kashkab is a fermented drink made from barley, mint, rue, black pepper, and citron leaf. The citron is similar to the modern lemon, but lemons as we know them weren’t written about until the 10th century.

Fast forward 500 or so years to France in the 17th century. The first instance of lemonade made its debut in Paris on Aug. 20, 1630. This drink was made from sparkling water, lemon juice and honey. The drink was sold from tanks that vendors carried on their backs.

In the 1780s, Johann Schweppe, a German jeweler, developed a method for making carbonated water using a compression pump that made the mass production of lemonade a breeze. The Schweppes brand of fizzy lemonade was readily available within a few years and had shut down the growth of lemonade stands around Europe by the 1830s.

Not long after, lemonade had found its way to the United States and became the official drink of the temperance movement. It was heavily pushed as an alternative to liquor, and during the presidency of Rutherford B. Hayes his wife, Lucy, was given the nickname "Lemonade Lucy" by those who opposed prohibition.

These days lemonade may seem like just another drink that lines the aisles of our grocery stores, but its unique history sets it apart from the rest.

What does lemonade have to do with grilling? I’m glad you asked, because this week on the podcast we’re making grilled lemonade.

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Grilled Lemonade

6-7 (8 oz) servings


  • 1 cup plus 1 tbsp sugar, divided
  • 1 cup water
  • 2 tbsp ginger, minced
  • 7 medium lemons, halved
  • 1 lemon, sliced thick
  • 1 tbsp sugar (for sprinkling the lemons)
  • 4 cups water


  1. Combine 1 cup sugar, 1 cup water and the minced ginger in a small saucepan over medium heat. Bring to a boil, then simmer for 5 minutes until sugar is dissolved. Cool completely.
  2. Preheat your grill for high heat (500ºF+) direct grilling. 
  3. Sprinkle the cut sides of the lemons with a little sugar. Place them cut side down directly on the side burner. Grill the halved and sliced lemons until slightly charred. Juice the halved lemons (save the slices for garnish), you’ll need 1 cup of juice, total, then chill the juice. 
  4. Combine the simple syrup and lemon juice. Add 4 cups water. Serve over ice, garnished with the sliced grilled lemon.