This simple magic colour-changing Lemonade is made using butterfly pea flower and turns from blue to purple in front of your very eyes. This magical concoction is sure to impress kids and guest alike! Plus, it uses 100% natural colouring and less than 10 ingredients!
Yes, you heard me right. This is magic lemonade! With less than 10 ingredients, this colour-changing lemonade can be made using a 100% natural colourant – the wonderful butterfly pea flower! This lemonade is both an amazing drink to impress friends and family, as well as a fun recipe for kids.
Not only that, but I’m also going to include two methods for serving this magical drink. Because variety is the spice of life, after all! So, depending on whether you want to make a simple lemonade or a fun slushy, the method will differ slightly but are both still super simple.
Plus, if you are planning on serving this magic lemonade at some sort of social gathering then I have plenty of other party food inspiration including this Two-layer Raspberry, Peach & Lemonade tart, or this Vegan Strawberry two-layer tart or for something savoury, how about this rainbow hummus veggie platter? If you’re looking for other fun recipes for kids, then how about this Sweet Potato Crust Rainbow Pizza or some veggie-filled savoury cupcakes with avocado ‘frosting’.
How to make simple colour-changing Lemonade
The first way is a tried-and-tested simple blue lemonade. If you serve this up to your kids ( or friends and family) they’re sure to already be impressed with the deep blue colour. However, with a squeeze of lemon juice into the glass, you’ll see the magic lemonade at work, changing from blue to pink ( if you’re lucky) to purple in front of your very eyes.
This simple colour-changing lemonade is made in just four steps: Make the simple sugar syrup, steep the butterfly pea flower, mix and finally add the lemon juice.
To make the simple sugar syrup:
If you’ve never made your own lemonade before or sugar syrup concoction then this might be the point where you think I was lying to you about this recipe being simple. But, honestly, it couldn’t be any easier.
Simply dissolve 1 cup of sugar into 1 cup of water over low heat, till all the sugar has completely dissolved.
Note* If you’re wanting to avoid using sugar then it is possible to use a natural sweetener of your choice. However, I haven’t done a lot of experimentation with this so I can’t guarantee what the results are like.
To Make the Butterfly pea powder tea:
Once again, there are a couple of methods that you can use here, either using full butterfly pea flowers or using butterfly pea powder tea bags. I prefer to use the dried flowers though.
To steep, simply place a handful of butterfly pea flowers into a small jug and add a cup of boiling water then leave to steep for around five minutes. The longer you steep the flowers, the deeper the blue colour that you will get.
Then just remove the butterfly pea flowers and discard.
Next, we mix the blue pea flower tea and sugar syrup together in a large jug, add two more cups of water and mix thoroughly.
At this point, you have a large jug of sweet blue butterfly pea flower tea and the final step is to perform the magic. The way I love to do this is to let people pour their blue tea into a cup and then I give them lemon halves to squeeze straight into their glass ( and this quickly becomes a super fun recipe for kids), so they can see the colour slowly change as the lemon juice drips into the glass. It can then be stirred, to complete the magic. ( Example of the effect below!).
Alternatively, you can juice lemons directly into a smaller jug and let your guests/ friends/family simply pour some into their glasses. This way makes the colour change happen very quickly but is less messy.
How to make magic colour-changing lemonade slushies:
The second method is probably my favourite though, for a truly magical effect. This way take a little bit more prep time and needs to be made a day in advance but I promise you, it’s worth it!
First, we steep the blue butterfly pea flower liquid following the method above and pour this into ice-cube trays. The actual size/shape of the tray doesn’t matter as the ice is going to be crushed in the end.
This can then be left to freeze for a few hours, or overnight.
Next, we make the sugar syrup, but this is where the method differs slightly. When creating slushies I prefer to make my lemonade syrup as a whole, rather than a simple sugar syrup.
To make the lemonade syrup simply add your lemon juice directly into the sugar syrup. I know that different people prefer their lemonade at different levels of ‘tart-ness’, but I’d say between 1-2 lemons for this amount of liquid. This can then be left in the fridge overnight.
How to serve the Magic Lemonade:
When you’re ready to serve up your magic lemonade slushies, it’s time to crush your blue ice. To do this you can either use a food processor or, I have this nifty Ice crusher specifically for slushies because I’m slushie obsessed! ( and I love to make slushies for events so need one!)
The one downfall I’ve noticed with my ice crusher is that the ice is all very uniformly ‘fine’ in texture, which means that when the lemonade is added, it melts quickly and the ‘magic’ colour-change is over very quickly.
To avoid this, simply make sure some fo your ice is crushed slightly less, so there are larger pieces. Because these will take longer to melt, they will remain blue in your glass for longer. Thus you end up with this gorgeous blend of blue/pink/purple elements in the drink.
Then simply pour your ice into your glasses ( For different colour variations you can add some normal crushed ice above or below the blue ice), Pour some of the lemonade syrup into the bottom of each glass and top up with either ice-cold water or sparkling water and mix. Voila!
So, How does the Magic Lemonade work?
What I love most about this recipe is that it uses a natural colourant and ‘natures magic’ science to get the colour-changing effect.
For this lemonade, we use a very specific magical ingredient called ‘butterfly pea flower’. This blue flower can be steeped in boiling water to release it’s beautiful, deep blue colour. And the next bit is where the magic begins. This liquid then reacts to the PH balance of your next ingredients.
Meaning that when you squeeze in some lemon or pour in some lemonade, the blue will react and turn different shades of pink/purple.
And, you might be surprised to know that this isn’t the only ingredient that has this colour-changing effect. Red cabbage water has this very same effect (and can be used for lots of fun experiments with kids).
In fact, you can use butterfly pea flower tea for multiple fun recipes for kids, cocktails for adults, so get experimenting! I’d love to see what you get up to with your experiments so feel free to tag me in your creations @AlphaFoodie.
- A Handful of Butterfly Blue Pea Flowers
- 1 cup brown sugar (or your favourite natural sweetener)
- 1 cup water (to dissolve the sugar) - skip if using other natural sweeteners like maple, honey or agave
- 1 cup of filtered water (boiling)
- 2 additional cups of filtered water (room temperature)
- Few drops of Lavender extract (optional)
- I-2 lemons (for colour change)
- Ice for serving
Classic Magic Colour-changing Lemonade:
- To begin, you need to make a simple sugar syrup. To do this, start by dissolving 1 cup of sugar and 1 cup of water over low heat for a few minutes until the sugar is completely dissolved, then set aside to cool down.
- Next, you need to steep the butterfly pea flower tea. Simply combine a handful of butterfly pea flowers * and 1 cup boiling water and steep for around 5 minutes. **
- In a large jug combine the sugar syrup, steeped blue pea flower liquid and the two remaining cups of water and mix.
- At this point, you can add a few drops of lavender extract (for a soothing lavender taste), if wanted.
- At this point what you have is a deep blue butterfly pea flower tea. The moment you squeeze the lemon juice into the drink, the colour turns purple. I like to give everyone lemon halves to squeeze the lemon in themselves. However, you can also pre-squeeze the lemon juice and let everyone pour in some lemon juice and stir the drink for the full magical effect.
Magic Colour-Changing Slushies:
- To make the slushies, the first step is to steep the butterfly pea flower tea as mentioned above, pour into ice-cube trays *** and then leave to freeze.
- Then you need to prepare the lemonade syrup. Unlike above, the lemon will be mixed directly into the syrup for the slushie. Simply follow the directions above the make the sugar syrup, including the lemon juice ****
- When you want to serve the colour-changing slushies, simply use a food processor to crush the ice ( or an ice-crusher). Keep some ice chunks larger and some smaller *****
- Fill your glasses with the blue ice, pour some lemon syrup into each glass and then top up with water or sparkling water and mix. Voila!
* Alternatively, you can use butterfly pea flower tea bags. I'd use between 3-5 for a really rich blue colour.
** The longer you steep them, the deeper the colour will get.
*** The size/shape of the ice-cube trays doesn't matter, as we are going to crush the ice.
**** Depending on how tart you prefer your lemonade, you can add more or less lemon juice. I would suggest between 1-2 lemons.
***** Because the smaller ice bits will melt quickly and change colour. However, if you have larger chunks then your drink will be a gorgeous mixture of pink, purple and blue tones.