Beat the summer heat with a nostalgic thirst-quenching drink - state fair lemonade! Can't make it to the fair? No worries! This lemonade shake-up recipe is easy to follow, with just a few simple ingredients needed to recreate this iconic drink at home.
This Mom's Menu is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.com. This post may be sponsored or contain affiliate links but all opinions are my own. I may earn money from purchases made through the links shared here (at no additional cost to you)
Lemonade Shake-Up stands are usually one of my first stops at the state fair or local festivals. It is the perfect drink to beat the heat of the summer and it is amazingly simple to make.
This lemonade is great to serve at any summer barbecue but it is also easy enough that you can throw it together for an anytime treat. I suggest enjoying it with homemade smash burgers and some delicious corn ribs for the ultimate fair menu!
Ingredients and Substitutions
The ingredients for delicious homemade lemonade are about as simple as it gets! Be sure to check out the variations section of this post for several flavor options and other ideas.
- Whole, fresh lemons
- Sugar or sugar substitute
- Water and plenty of ice
See the recipe card for quantities.
You will need a large glass, preferably with a lid. A 32-ounce mason jar works perfectly for this but any large glass will do. If you don't have a drinking glass (or jar 😂) with a tight lid, you can simply prepare the lemonade in one container and then transfer it to another to drink.
You'll also need something to mash the lemons into the sugar. You could use a cocktail muddler or the back of a wooden spoon. I used a sauerkraut pounder which was perfect.
Before you get started ...
The whole lemon will be going into the lemonade so be sure to thoroughly clean the outside of the lemons. You can use your favorite produce wash or even dish soap just be sure to completely rinse away whatever you use.
How to Make State Fair Lemonade
After cleaning the outside of the lemon, slice it into fourths lengthwise.
Tip: To reduce the risk of choking, especially if you are serving young children, carefully use the tip of a knife or fork to remove any seeds.
Place the lemon wedges along with the sugar in the bottom of a large (32 ounce) glass.
Use a muddler or the back of a long wooden spoon to mash the lemons into the sugar until they have released most of their juices.
Fill the glass with ice and water. Stir or shake the lemonade until well combined and enjoy!
There are almost endless possibilities for changing up this recipe. Here are some of my favorites:
- Sugar Free and Low Carb - Make a delicious almost sugar free drink by simply swapping the sugar for your favorite sugar substitute. I like whole earth stevia blend! Be sure to check out this conversion chart to ensure you use the correct amount of sweetener.
- Strawberry Lemonade - Simply add 3-4 strawberries in step 2 and then follow the rest of the recipe.
- Limeade or Cherry Limeade - Swap the lemon for 2 limes and add 2 tablespoons of grenadine (for cherry limeade), then garnish with a marachino cherry.
- Boozy Lemonade - Add a shot or two of your favorite liquor for a simply, boozy cocktail. I like to use Lemon Flavored Rum!
How to Prepare in Advance
This lemonade is meant to be enjoyed fresh. If you want to prepare the lemonade in advance, you can muddle the lemon and sugar, then add about 2 cups of water. When you are ready to enjoy the lemonade, just add 1-2 cups of ice, stir and enjoy!
The main difference between lemonade and a lemonade shakeup is the method of preparation. Lemonade is typically made by mixing lemon juice, sugar, and water together in a pitcher or large container, while a lemonade shakeup is made by shaking sliced lemons, sugar, and water with ice in a sealed container, such as a mason jar.
State Fair Lemonade is a sweet and tangy drink that is typically sold at state fairs across the United States. It is typically made to order using fresh lemons.
While there is no real definition of 'healthy' state fair lemonade does have a decent amount of sugar. If you are trying to avoid excess sugar or calories, you can swap the sugar for your favorite sugar substitute.
State Fair Lemonade
- 32 ounce Mason Jar or drinking cup
- 1 Lemon
- ¼ cup Sugar
- 2 cups Ice
- 2 cups Water
- Clean the lemon and cut it into fourths lengthwise.1 Lemon
- Place the sliced lemon and the sugar in the bottom of a large glass. I use a 32 oz mason jar.¼ cup Sugar
- Using a muddler or a wooden spoon to mash the lemon wedges into the sugar.
- Fill the glass with ice, and then water. Thoroughly stir the lemonade until the sugar has dissolved. If you use a mason jar, simply place the lid on the jar and shake it a few times.2 cups Ice, 2 cups Water
Be sure to read the entire post for tips, tricks, and help troubleshooting.
The nutrition information listed here is only an estimate and is simply provided as a courtesy. It nor any other information within this post should constitute medical or nutritional advice. Be sure to read all packaging and ingredient labels for potential allergens. Optional ingredients are not included unless otherwise specified.