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What is Limeade?

By Mandi R. Hall
Updated May 16, 2024
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Limeade is a beverage flavored with real lime juice or lime concentrate. Similar to lemonade, this beverage — often called lime-en-ade — is made in the same fashion, while using limes instead of lemons. Typically made of of limes, water, and white sugar, the beverage is a combination of both tart and sweet flavors.

"Ade" in itself signifies a drink based on a single fruit flavor. Such fruits are often in the citrus family, such as lemons, limes, tangerines, or oranges. In cases like this, the suffix “ade” is simply tacked onto the end of a fruit word, such as “orangeade.” Ade is meant to be refreshing and is often associated with hot summer days.

This ade can be made with freshly squeezed limes or real or artificial lime juice. If using fresh limes, consumers should be careful not to accidentally squeeze a seed into their concoctions. When using bottled, jarred, or canned lime juice, consumers should check to see whether the mixture is already sweetened at all. If so, less sugar may be needed in the recipe.

Though water and white sugar are often added to the lime juice before pouring over ice, the sugar is a preference. Some people prefer unsweetened limeade, while some may prefer limeade sweetened with brown or natural sugar. Additionally, simple syrup — a sugar and water mixture in which the sugar has already been dissolved in the hot water before cooling the mixture — is often supplied free of charge in bars and cafes. Some people use this popular alternative to sugar when sweetening chilled limeade, as it is already in liquid form and therefore will have no trouble dissolving in the beverage.

Typically clear or slightly yellow in color, limeade may also be artificially colored green to match its namesake. This fruit juice mixture is usually uncarbonated. In parts of the world outside of North America, however, a fizzy drink containing carbonation is called by the same — or a similar — name. People also often use the term limeade for brand name lime-flavored sodas.

Many popular drink brands carry their own version of limeades. In some cases, companies make combination limeades, mixing the beverage with other fruits such as berries or lemons, thus concocting a berry-limeade or lemon-limeade.

Limeade can easily be turned into a cocktail. Adults wishing to imbibe in an alcoholic limeade drink need only add liquor. Vodka — plain, berry or citrus flavored — works, as do tequila, gin, or rum. The cocktail may be enjoyed on the rocks or frozen.

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