This Brown Sugar Lemonade is a new and improved freshly-squeezed lemonade! This step-by-step guide will show you how to make lemonade with brown sugar instead of white sugar. It may look like iced tea, but it tastes like lemonade (the BEST lemonade)!
Can you use brown sugar to make lemonade? Yes, brown sugar is an excellent alternative to white sugar and adds a deeper flavor profile to this refreshing lemonade drink. This quick and easy brown sugar lemonade recipe makes a half-gallon pitcher, but feel free to double up as a pitcher of brown sugar lemonade goes fast.
The subtle caramel flavor brown sugar lends to this homemade lemonade comes from the added molasses. Brown sugar has molasses added during processing, ultimately enhancing its flavor with a rich, toffee-like taste.
Thirsty? Same. Let’s get started on this refreshing lemonade made with brown sugar!
👉 Why You Should Make Lemonade With Brown Sugar
- This iced drink is the perfect thirst-quencher on hot days.
- It takes only 20 minutes to make.
- There’s plenty of room for customizing with additional flavors and mix-ins.
- You can make lemonade into a tart and tasty cocktail.
- Water – For the freshest-tasting lemonade and to reduce the risk of bacterial growth, use filtered or distilled water.
- Brown sugar – You can use light or dark brown sugar. Light brown sugar has a mild molasses flavor, while the flavor in dark brown sugar is more intense. Light brown sugar lends a soft note of caramel to drinks, while dark brown sugar creates a complex toffee-like flavor.
- Lemon Juice – Use lemons or Meyer lemons to give this drink its classic lemon flavor. Make sure the juice is freshly squeezed!
- Sea Salt – Just a pinch to brighten up every flavor!
- Saucepan – To make brown sugar syrup, if you haven’t already.
- Half-gallon pitcher – To mix the ingredients in and for serving.
- Whisk – To combine the ingredients into a well-blended drink.
📖 How To Make Brown Sugar Lemonade
To make lemonade with brown sugar, you’ll first need to make a 1/2 cup of brown sugar syrup. If your syrup is already prepared, skip ahead to step #2.
1️⃣ Step One: make brown sugar syrup.
Stir one cup of water in a saucepan with the brown sugar over medium heat. Once the liquid begins to boil, lower the heat, and let it simmer, stirring occasionally until the brown sugar is dissolved and thickens into a syrup. Let cool completely.
2️⃣ Step Two: juice lemons.
As you wait for the syrup to cool down, juice those lemons. You’ll need 2 cups of lemon juice, which usually equals 10 lemons (give or take).
3️⃣ Step Three: whisk lemonade with brown sugar.
Add the cooled brown sugar syrup, freshly squeezed lemon juice, the rest of the cold water, and a pinch of salt to a half-gallon pitcher. Whisk together until thoroughly combined.
4️⃣ Step Four: chill & serve.
Place the pitcher in the fridge to chill and serve over ice. Garnish with fresh lemon slices, and enjoy!
🍋 Recipe Tips
- Freshly-squeezed lemon juice is non-negotiable. Do not use bottled lemon juice!
- Let the brown sugar syrup cool before combining it with the water and lemon juice. You don’t want the heat from the syrup to tarnish the fresh citrus flavor.
- If you make your brown sugar syrup in advance, you’ll need a full half-cup ( 8 ounces) to sweeten 8 cups of freshly squeezed lemonade.
- Invest in a citrus juicer to make juicing lemons efficient and practically effortless.
Quick Tip! If your lemons are lacking in the juice department, pop them in the microwave for 30 seconds. The warmth will get the juices flowing, making them easier to squeeze.
This brown sugar lemonade is the perfect canvas for additional flavors and mix-ins. Check out these delicious customizations:
- Add flavor complementary to lemons: Replace half of the brown sugar syrup with a syrup flavor that goes with lemons, like pear simple syrup, orange simple syrup, and blueberry simple syrup.
- Replace the lemons with limes or oranges: to make limeade or orangeade -or use a vibrant blend of lemons, limes, and oranges.
- Muddle fresh fruits or herbs: like strawberry, peach, raspberry, blueberry, mint, basil, or lavender in the bottom of your pitcher. Then, build your brown sugar lemonade on top and stir everything together—strain before serving or enjoy as is.
- Make it fizzy! You can either make your lemonade with sparkling water or top off individual glasses with seltzer water to add delightful bubbles.
Make it boozy! Lemonade made with brown sugar is the perfect mixer for spiced rum, sweet bourbons, and vodka. To make, stir 1 to 2 ounces of the alcohol into each 8-ounce glass of lemonade.
🧊 How To Store
Storing: Homemade brown lemonade is best enjoyed fresh, but you can keep it in the refrigerator (covered) and enjoy it for about a week.
Freezing: The best way to freeze extra lemonade is in ice cube trays so that when you’re ready to serve, you can blend the frozen cubes in a high-speed blender into a frozen brown sugar lemonade.
Lemonade is typically made with white sugar. Brown lemonade is made with brown sugar, giving it a darker tea-like color and a sweeter, caramelized taste.
Yes! Brown sugar will dissolve directly in hot beverages, but as for iced drinks, you’ll need to make brown sugar syrup first.
Not quite. They aren’t processed the same, but as for taste and texture, they can be used interchangeably to make brown syrup.
🧋More Specialty Sips
- 3 Ingredient Pink Drink
- Iced Matcha Lemonade
- Chocolate Cream Cold Brew
- Cucumber Mint Lemonade
- Activated Charcoal Lemonade
Brown Sugar Lemonade
- 1 Saucepan
- 1 half-gallon pitcher
- 1 Whisk
- 8 cups water filtered or distilled
- 1 cup light brown sugar
- 2 cups lemon juice freshly squeezed
- 1 pinch sea salt
- Combine 1 cup of filtered water with the brown sugar in a saucepan over medium heat. Bring the liquid to a boil, then lower the heat and simmer, stirring occasionally, until the brown sugar dissolves and the liquid thickens. Let cool.
- While the brown sugar syrup cools, juice enough lemons to make 2 cups of lemon juice (about 10 lemons depending on size).
- Add the cooled brown sugar syrup, freshly squeezed lemon juice, the remaining water, and a pinch of salt to a half-gallon pitcher. Whisk to combine.
- Place the pitcher in the fridge until the lemonade is chilled, and serve over ice with slices of fresh lemon. Enjoy!