Pink Lemonade is lemon-flavoured beverage with a cloudy, pink hue to it. It is usually served cold.
Commercially, Pink Lemonade is made from lemon juice, sweetener, water, and a pink dye. The dye may be artificial, or natural such as cranberry juice, or grenadine.
Homemade versions achieve the colouring with the addition of cranberry juice, grenadine, crushed strawberries, juice from pink or ruby grapefruits, etc.
Stories ascribing the origin to red-long johns or other clothing falling into a vat of lemonade (or red candy hearts) at a circus can be classed as charming legends, particularly as they are all undated, and seem to rehash other similar legends before them said.
The earliest reference we have found to date to Pink Lemonade is in 1896:
“The margin around the fences has been monopolized by dealers in cholera-breeding fruit, Washington pies, cheap oyster soup, tough waffles, questionable literature, stinkadora cigars, ice cream (a penny glass, with two spoons), seaweed for chewing, and other delectable refreshments, including pink lemonade.” Article describing the poor state of New York’s City Hall Park. In The New York Herald. 21 July 1869. Page 3.
In the late 1800s, it was also sometimes referred to as “red” lemonade:
“From Leavenworth comes the terrible story that a man living there tried to founder his mother-in-law the other night by dancing a polka with her until she got thoroughly warmed up and then giving her all the red lemonade she could drink.” Gossip for the Ladies column. Titusville Herald. Titusville, Pennsylvania. 7 November 1873. Page 4.