}); World Turn'd Upside Down: Civil War Era Lemonade Powder Recipe

June 12, 2015

Civil War Era Lemonade Powder Recipe

Make this Civil War Era Lemonade Powder Recipe in less than 5 minutes!   Great for hot events. Click here for the recipe: http://worldturndupsidedown.blogspot.com/2015/06/civil-war-era-lemonade-powder-recipe.html | World Turn'd Upside Down

Drink powders seems like such a modern convenience that it's hard to image that they have been around since at least the early 1800s!

Known as Lemonade Powder, Dry Lemonade, or Portable Lemonade, these powders were originally made and sold by chemists at apothecaries as a treatment for fevers, digestion issues and gangrene. Oddly to us, lemonade was also drank hot like tea.   

The recipe hasn't changed much over the years, some recipes advice adding a few drops of lemon oil or lemon peel, some use the juice of a fresh lemon and others recommend various acidic compounds. Regardless of the exact mixture, these powders were popular and in the 1860s, many recipes were available in cookbooks and ladies' journals.
Lemonade Powder

Civil War Recipes
- 2 Tablespoons Tartaric Acid
- 8 Cups Superfine Sugar/Caster Sugar  (If you can't find any in the store, you can make you own.)
- 1.5 teaspoon Lemon Oil ***Warning*** Be very careful when using concentrated oils.

Mix all ingredients together and let sit overnight covered loosely to keep out bugs until dry. Store in a container until needed. Use 2 Tablespoons of powder per pint of water.

The powdered recipes vary greatly in proportions. I suggest to experiment and find what you like. I thought this needed a little fooling. If tartaric acid is scary, use citric acid which is equally appropriate for the time period. Just be sure to multiply the tablespoons by 4. You can add a few drops of food coloring if you do not want clear lemonade.

If DIY isn't your thing, the modern powder is fairly similar in composition so make sure you and everyone else is staying cool and hydrated!


  1. I always keep some of the modern stuff in a period jar. NOt only is it good for keeping cool but I find it's a good way to connect to spectators. They are surprised to find out that it is accurate. I'm interested in trying some of the other portable drinks but am having trouble with the recipes. Thanks for this.

  2. Ooh, how fascinating! I want to try this out now. This and switchel are on my must-make-this-summer-list!


Tell me what you think!