Reinvent Classic Lemonade With Fresh Tomato Juice

On a hot day, there's nothing like a fresh glass of lemonade to quench your thirst. It's become such a favorite drink that many have spent time creating new riffs on the citrus splash to elevate it even more, such as the Arnold Palmer (half-iced tea, half-lemonade), lavender lemonade, and adding in all sorts of other muddled fruits like berries for an extra pop of flavor. 

But, here's a new one — tomato juice lemonade.

It might be a stretch for some people, especially since lemons and tomatoes can potentially create tangy trouble when hooking up. Both are citrus fruits, with big, bright acidic tendencies that can make lips pucker. But somehow, this combo just works. 

Social media and esteemed food outlets jumped on the idea after seeing a scene from Season 3 of "Queer Eye" on Amazon Prime, soon becoming fascinated with this novel idea.

How to make your own tomato lemonade

The idea for this unique drink went viral thanks to Antoni Porowski, resident food and wine expert in the "Queer Eye" cast (who now also hosts "Easy-Bake Battle" on Netflix). Back in 2019, Porowski introduced tomato lemonade to cast members as they casually sipped on it in the final seconds of an episode. While it's not a new idea, per say, it had some viewers' minds blown who were quick to come up with their own versions. 

Porowski's take on it appears to come from a chef friend who owns a brunch eatery called Succotash in Kansas City. In an interview with Cherry Bombe, Porowski called it his "favorite drink ever" and specified that it's made from mixing heirloom tomatoes with lemonade.

Sweeter versions of the drink also include some simple syrup, joined by fresh chopped tomatoes, lemon juice, and water that can be blended in a food processor and garnished for a creamy mocktail. Or, you can add a neutral-tasting liquor like vodka for an adult version of the drink. You could also make a sauce from the fresh tomatoes before blending with the juice, plus sugar or honey, for more texture. For an even more complex and aromatic flavor with floral tones, consider using Meyer lemons for your drink.

Quickie iterations of the tomato lemonade bypass fresh ingredients in lieu of pre-prepared staples. You can use everything from canned tomato juice and pre-bottled lemonade to organic crushed tomatoes with fizzy lemonade, shaken-and-stirred or pureed in a blender.

What makes tomato lemonade so good

While the two acidic citrus buddies may battle for dominance inside your drinking glass, there's actually a balancing act going on when you blend tomato juice and lemonade. Tomatoes have a sweet element that counteracts the zesty citric tartness of lemons, creating an even keeled flavor essence that's both refreshing and smooth. 

Both lemons and tomatoes also harbor a wealth of nutrition, making tomato lemonade an unofficial "super drink." Both are bursting with vitamin C, while lemons on their own pull nutrients from multiple plant compounds and minerals, explains Healthline. Tomatoes are also comprised of 95% water, making the combo drink an excellent hydrator on hot days. 

With tomato lemonade so easy to make, it's worth heading to your kitchen for a try. As "Queer Eye" cast member Antoni Porowski encourages on the show, you don't need to think "fancy," just think "special." Tomato lemonade with fresh heirloom fruit and tart, fresh-squeezed citrus definitely falls in the special category.