Kid-friendly Rockin' Southern Sweet Tea Lemonade Recipe - Sticky Fingers Cooking
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Recipe: Rockin' Southern Sweet Tea Lemonade

Recipe: Rockin' Southern Sweet Tea Lemonade

Rockin' Southern Sweet Tea Lemonade

by Erin Fletter
Photo by Elena Veselova/
prep time
20 minutes
cook time
5 minutes
3-4 servings

Fun-Da-Mentals Kitchen Skills

  • slice :

    to cut into thin pieces using a sawing motion with your knife.

  • squeeze :

    to firmly press or twist a food with fingers, hands, or a device to remove its liquid, like shredded potatoes, frozen and thawed spinach, or tofu.

  • steep :

    to soak a food, like tea, in water or other liquid so as to bring out its flavor.

  • stir :

    to mix together two or more ingredients with a spoon or spatula, usually in a circle pattern, or figure eight, or in whatever direction you like!

Equipment Checklist

  • Small saucepan
  • Dry measuring cups
  • Liquid measuring cup
  • Wooden spoon
  • Cutting board + kid-safe knife
  • Citrus juicer (optional)
  • Pitcher or large glass jar for drink


Rockin' Southern Sweet Tea Lemonade

  • 1/2 C sugar
  • 5 C water, divided
  • 4 decaf black tea bags
  • 4 lemons
  • ice


Rockin' Southern Sweet Tea Lemonade

combine + boil + dissolve

With an adult's help, combine 1/2 cup sugar with 1 cup water in a saucepan. Bring to a boil and reduce heat to simmer, stirring to dissolve the sugar completely. This is your simple syrup!

add + steep

Add 4 decaf black tea bags to the simple syrup mixture, submerge them, and let the tea steep as the simple syrup cools.

slice + squeeze

After 15 to 20 minutes of steeping, slice and squeeze the juice from 4 lemons into the simple syrup tea mixture.

stir + fill + pour

Remove the tea bags and stir the mixture. Pour into a large glass jar or pitcher and add 4 cups of room temperature water. Stir again. Taste! Does it need more sugar? Adjust to your preference. Fill 4 drinking glasses with ice and divide Rockin’ Southern Sweet Tea Lemonade between the glasses. Cheers!

Surprise Ingredient: Lemon!

back to recipe
Photo by Alena Levykin/

Hi! I'm Lemon!

“I just love the sun, don't you? That's because I'm a lemon, and we grow so much better in sun and warmth. My skin is a lovely, sunny yellow color. I'm a citrus fruit, but I'm not sweet like an orange. So if you bite into me, your mouth might pucker! But if you squeeze out my juice, then add water and sugar to it, you'll enjoy the sweet and sour taste of lemonade! My zest and juice can bring a wonderful brightness to many dishes."


  • Lemon trees are small evergreen trees thought to be native to Asia. Sometime in the first century, they came to Italy and the Mediterranean region. Although the trees were widely distributed throughout the Middle East and Mediterranean countries between the 8th and 11th centuries, they weren't cultivated to a great extent until the middle of the 1400s in Italy. Spanish explorers brought lemon seeds with them to the Americas later in the 15th century. By the 19th century, you could find lemon trees in Florida and California.
  • Today, California and Arizona produce 95 percent of the entire lemon crop in the United States.
  • During the European Renaissance, fashionable ladies used lemon juice as a way to redden their lips! Today you might find people with naturally blond or light brown hair using lemon juice, diluted with water, to lighten their hair. This method is subtle and requires exposure to sunlight to see results, so be sure to put sunscreen on your skin!
  • Lemons were once so rare that kings would give them away as gifts. 

Anatomy & Etymology

  • There are two different types of lemons—acidic and sweet. The most common acidic varieties include Eurekas and Lisbons. The acidic types are grown commercially, and the sweet types are grown mainly by home gardeners. Lemon trees bloom and produce fruit year-round. Each tree can produce up to 500 to 600 lemons annually.  
  • Lemons are hybrids of bitter or sour oranges and citrons, another type of citrus fruit.
  • Lemons are technically berries. All citrus fruits are berries!
  • Lemons are protected by a rind or peel and a lining of spongy, white tissue called the "pith." When zesting lemon peel for a recipe, you want to avoid including the pith, which is bitter. Lemon flesh is plump, full of juice, and studded with seeds.
  • Common types of lemons include Eureka, Lisbon, and Meyer. Meyer lemons have a sweeter, more floral taste and aroma. They are a combination of a lemon and a sweet orange. Eureka lemons are the most prolifically grown lemon in the world. They have pointed, tapered ends. 
  • The word "lemon" is from the Middle English "lymon," from the Old French "limon," which is from the Arabic "līmūn," a collective term for citrus fruits.

How to Pick, Buy, & Eat

  • To choose lemons with the most juice, look for those with thin peels and are heavy for their size. There are about three tablespoons of lemon juice in one lemon and about eight seeds.  
  • Lemon juice is sour by itself, but you can add lemon juice and zest from the rind to bring an acidic balance to a sweeter recipe, like cakes, cookies, and curds. It also brightens up vinaigrettes, marinades, and risottos. Lemons can be squeezed over grilled, fried, or roasted chicken, fish, or vegetables. You can make lemonade with the juice and tea from the lemon leaves.
  • Lemon juice keeps cut pears, apples, bananas, and avocados from turning brown because the acid helps keep the fruit from oxidizing.  


  • Vitamin C! The rind of the lemon has the most vitamin C. Since lemons are high in vitamin C, they have been used throughout history to prevent scurvy—a disease that causes bleeding gums, loose teeth, and aching joints. To this day, the British Navy requires ships to carry enough lemons so that every sailor can have one ounce of lemon juice a day. The demand for lemons and their scurvy-preventing properties hit a peak during the California Gold Rush of 1849. Miners were willing to pay large sums for a single lemon. As a result, lemon trees were planted in abundance throughout California. 
  • Lemon oil, extracted from lemon peel, cannot be ingested. However, when diluted and applied to a person's skin, there is evidence that it acts as an antibacterial and antifungal. Diffused in the air or added to bath water as aromatherapy, it can ease anxiety and stress, lift mood, and sharpen brain function.
  • Citrus fruits, like lemons and limes, have citric acid, which can help prevent kidney stones from forming.


History of Lemonade!

Photo by JeniFoto/
  • Lemonade was probably the first of the fruitades. Ancient Egyptians made a drink with lemons and sugar cane called "qatarmizat" in the 11th century. In 1676 a Parisian company was the first to sell lemonade. 
  • Old-fashioned lemonade, or cloudy lemonade, is made from the juice of freshly squeezed lemons, non-carbonated water, and sugar and is a very popular summer drink in the United States and Canada. 
  • Pink lemonade includes other fruit juice, like grape juice, or food coloring to make it pink. Ireland uses brown sugar to sweeten their lemonade and calls it brown lemonade. 
  • Many countries have other varieties, including France, which serves "citron pressé," providing lemon, water, and sweetener to customers who prefer to measure and mix their own lemonade.
  • To get even more flavor from the lemon (or any fruit), you can make a lemon crush by pressing (muddling) pieces of the squeezed, unpeeled lemon (make sure it's been washed!) in the bottom of the glass or pitcher.

  • Limeade is another popular citrus fruit-flavored drink made with lime juice, water, and sugar.

Let's Learn About the Southern United States!

Photo by In The Light Photography/
  • The southern region of the United States is also referred to as the Southern States, or just "the South." The area lies between the Western states and the Atlantic Ocean. Midwestern and Northeastern states are to its north, and Mexico and the Gulf of Mexico are to its south. 
  • From west to east, the states included in the South are Texas, Oklahoma, Louisiana, Arkansas, Mississippi, Tennessee, Kentucky, Alabama, Florida, Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina, West Virginia, Virginia, Maryland, and Delaware. 
  • The term "Deep South" usually applies to Alabama, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, and South Carolina.
  • Native Americans inhabited the region as early as 11,000 to 9,500 BCE. They lived on food they grew, hunted, and fished.
  • Eleven Southern states seceded from the Union from 1860 to 1861 and became the Confederate States of America. Their secession and the dispute about the expansion of slavery caused the Civil War (1861-1865), the war between the North and the South. At the war's end, the Southern states returned to the Union. 
  • Southern culture was influenced by indigenous peoples, immigrants from England, Spain, and France, and enslaved Africans. As a result, the area's language, food, music, architecture, and literature may include one or more of these influences.  
  • The climate in the region is diverse and depends on a state's proximity to the Atlantic Ocean or the Gulf of Mexico. Hurricanes and tornadoes are extreme types of weather seen in the South.
  • Animals that are unique to the South include the nine-banded armadillo, the cottonmouth (snake), the roseate spoonbill (wading bird), and the American alligator.
  • Stock car racing got its start in Southern states. NASCAR (National Association of Stock Car Racing) was founded in 1948 and is headquartered in Daytona Beach, Florida, and Charlotte, North Carolina. 
  • There are a wide variety of foods in Southern cuisine. Cajun and creole dishes originated in Louisiana. You can find Caribbean cooking influences in Florida, including Cuban, Dominican, and Puerto Rican. 
  • Various types of barbecue are popular in the South, and each state has its own cooking or smoking techniques, dry rub, and BBQ sauce that make its barbecue style unique.
  • Other well-known Southern dishes are Southern fried chicken, red beans and rice, fried catfish and hush puppies, and Hoppin' John, a black-eyed pea and rice dish commonly served on New Year's Day.

That's Berry Funny

What do you give an injured lemon?


Lettuce Joke Around

What do teapots wear to a tea party? 


Lettuce Joke Around

Why did the lemon have no friends? 

Because she was a sour-puss!

Lettuce Joke Around

What did the lemon say to the cake? 

"Sour you doing?"

That's Berry Funny

Why did the lemon stop halfway across the road? 

He ran out of juice!

Lettuce Joke Around

Why must you be careful of tea at night? 

Because it might mug you.

THYME for a Laugh

What is the Alphabet’s favorite drink? 

T, of course!

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