Authentic Haitian Lemonade (Citronade)

Summertime evokes various delights - beach excursions, backyard barbecues, and, naturally, lemonade. While you may have delighted in the classic American-style lemonade, it's high time to acquaint your taste buds with its Caribbean counterpart: Haitian Lemonade, or as it's called in Haiti, Citronade. This beverage stands as a cultural staple on the island, a revitalizing elixir destined to cool your scorching summer days.

If you're craving for a truly authentic and refreshing lemonade experience, look no further than the streets of Haiti. Citronade is an integral part of Haitian street food culture, offering respite from the tropical heat with its sweet and tangy flavor. It's a common sight to see vendors selling this drink in colorful cups or bottles on busy street corners, often paired with popular Haitian snacks like fried plantains or akra (fried malanga fritters).

But what sets Haitian Lemonade apart from its American counterpart? For starters, it's made with freshly squeezed lemons and limes, giving it a more tart and zesty taste. The addition of grated ginger adds a subtle kick that will awaken your senses.

The Origins of Citronade

Haitian Citronade surpasses its role as a mere thirst-quencher; it symbolizes a vital thread in the island's rich cultural fabric. Haiti, renowned for its amalgamation of African, French, and indigenous Taino influences, boasts a culinary landscape that is both diverse and delightful. Citronade serves as a humble representation of this intricate cultural mosaic, showcasing simple yet exquisitely flavorful ingredients.

What Sets Haitian Citronade Apart?

The first distinction of Haitian Citronade lies in its simplicity. It calls for water, fresh lemons, sugar, a pinch of salt, and a teaspoon of vanilla extract. Yes, you read that right - vanilla extract. This small addition elevates the drink from a typical lemonade to something undeniably extraordinary.

Furthermore, while traditional American lemonade often relies solely on lemon juice, Citronade utilizes the entire lemon, zest included. This infusion yields a bolder, more pronounced citrus flavor that lingers gracefully on your palate.


  • 8 cups of water
  • 6 freshly-squeezed lemons
  • 1 cup of sugar
  • A pinch of salt
  • 1 tsp of vanilla extract
  • Ice cubes as needed

Step-by-Step Directions:

Step 1: Preparing the Lemons

Start by thoroughly washing the lemons. Cut them in half and squeeze out the juice. For an extra burst of flavor, consider grating some lemon zest.

Step 2: Mixing it All Together

Grab a large pitcher and pour in the freshly-squeezed lemon juice. Add the sugar, salt, and vanilla extract. Stir well until the sugar is completely dissolved.

Step 3: Adding the Final Touches

To make the lemonade visually appealing, garnish it with a slice of orange or lime. This will add a pop of color and a subtle variation in taste.

Step 4: Enjoy!

Pour the mixture over a glass filled with ice cubes and savor this invigorating drink.

Pro Tips:

  1. Adjust the Sweetness: Before adding ice, taste the lemonade. If it's too tart, add more sugar. If it's too sweet, a splash of water will balance it out.
  2. Experiment: While vanilla extract is optional, you can get creative by adding spices like cinnamon or a splash of rum for an adult twist.
  3. Batch Preparation: If you're serving a crowd, feel free to double or triple the recipe. Just make sure you have a pitcher large enough to hold it all.
  4. Nutritional Info: Haitian Citronade isn't just delicious; it's also rich in Vitamin C, making it a healthy choice for both kids and adults.


Haitian Citronade showcases how simple ingredients can combine to create something extraordinary. It's more than just a beverage; it offers a glimpse into Haitian culture and highlights the power of culinary innovation. So, the next time you need a refreshing escape from the summer heat, skip the store-bought lemonade and indulge in a glass of homemade Haitian Citronade. Cheers!

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