Beet Juice Is A Game Changer For Vibrant, Sweet Lemonade

Lemonade is a crowd-pleasing, endlessly refreshing go-to beverage, but as delicious as a classic sweet-tart lemonade can be, the taste can sometimes get a little tired. You can go the easy route and use other citrus fruits to add something different to a standard lemonade, but to creatively amp things up, look in your vegetable drawer. Beets in particular can give your run-of-the-mill lemonade an attractive pink upgrade, while adding a delightful depth of flavor. The earthy sweetness of beets may even allow you to reduce the amount of sugar you add to the drink, preventing the lemonade from being cloyingly sweet. 

There is a good reason why sweet and savory combinations like this one are so craveable. Humans crave certain tastes based on signals the body sends in order to get all the fuel it needs — sugar cravings ensure carbohydrate consumption, and naturally, salt cravings encourage you to consume enough salt. In the case of beet lemonade, the earthy and savory taste of the beets combined with sweet lemonade not only tastes good, but is deeply satisfying on a biological level.

How to make beet lemonade

To make beet lemonade, you need beet juice. You can use any type of beet, but red or pink varieties will give you the most impressive color. Juice them yourself with a juicing machine, or you can pick up a ready-made bottle at many health food stores. If neither a specialty appliance nor a trip to Whole Foods are in the cards, you can make beet lemonade with just a blender. 

If you have a very high-powered machine, start by peeling your beets and cutting them into cubes. Then blend them with lemon juice, sugar or simple syrup, and water until completely pulverized. Pass the liquid through a fine mesh strainer and chill before enjoying. If your blender is not quite that heavy-duty, you can help it along by grating raw, peeled beets on a box grater first. Blend with the aforementioned ingredients and strain, and you've got beet lemonade without a juicer or an extra grocery trip.

How else can you make sweet and savory lemonade?

To make beet lemonade even more special, add ingredients that complement the flavor of the vegetable, like orange, grapefruit, pomegranate, mint, or ginger. If beets lean a little too earthy for your palate, opt for carrot juice instead. The taste will be a bit different, but carrots still have that sweet and savory quality that tastes delightful alongside lemons and sugar. If you want to add a fresh flavor to your lemonade with a striking green color, you can also try juicing celery, kale, or cucumbers for a vibrant, vegetal note. You can even reinvent classic lemonade with fresh tomato juice.

To layer flavors and provide balance to any type of lemonade, beet or otherwise, consider adding a pinch of salt. Just like in preserved lemons or a margarita, salt and citrus go hand-in-hand. Adding a dash of salt to a whole pitcher of lemonade will not really taste perceptibly salty to the drinker. Instead, it will help to level out the sweetness and enhance the other flavors, just like when you add salt to sweet baked goods.