We hosted a lemonade tasting at an event this past weekend: three period recipes and one "ringer", with participants voting for their favorite.
I chose "portable lemonade" as my entry:
Take of tartaric acid, half an ounce; loaf sugar, three ounces; essence of lemon, half a drachm.
Powder the tartaric acid and sugar very fine in a marble or Wedgewood mortar; mix them together, and pour the essence of lemon upon them, but a few drops at a time, stirring the mixture after each addition, till the whole is added; then mix them thoroughly, and divide it into twelve equal parts, wrapping each up separately in a piece of white paper. When wanted for use, it is only necessary to dissolve it in a tumbler of cold water, and fine lemonade will be obtained, containing the flavor of the juice and peel of the lemon, and ready sweetened.
Godey's Lady's Book
Some modern equivalents:
Tartaric acid = Cream of tartar
Loaf Sugar = Granulated sugar
Essence of lemon = Lemon Extract
The taste was very lightly sweet, with just a touch of lemon and quite refreshing on a hot day - I might try making my own lemon extract next time.
And the winning recipe?
Instant Country Time!!!!
Most people were a bit embarrassed when informed that they had voted for the modern powder, but I think it just illustrates a couple points:
1.) The difference between modern and period expectations regarding sweetness and flavor profiles, and
2.) Most people gravitate towards the familiar and Country Time lemonade is far more common than any of our period receipts.
Over the past couple years, our group has been really delving into period foodways and we've found it a great way to interact with the public - after all, we all eat!