Sweet ‘n sour

Features editor Katarina Haven Beches reviews some of the best lemonades in the South Bay


Photo by Katarina (Haven) Beches

For those who don’t know me, I’m kind of obsessed with lemonade. No, seriously. I love lemonade more than life itself—the tell-tale citrus flavor, the faint tang that makes your mouth water like it does when you smell sour candy—everything about this beverage I find absolutely riveting and delectable. 

One of the worst things is drinking bad lemonade. Whether the concoction is too sweet, too sour, or too tart, bad lemonade is a travesty in itself. Regrettably, I have had the misfortune of drinking bad lemonade, and it is not an experience I would wish upon my greatest rival. 

To ensure that no one must ever feel the pain I’ve felt upon waiting to taste delicious, mouth-wateringly spectacular lemonade, I’ve compiled three of the best places where you are sure to find amazing lemonade. 

First up is the convenience location: Trader Joe’s. When I think of good lemonade, I think of fancy uptown juice bars or breakfast joints where you can just tell they freshly squeeze their own lemons. Suffice to say, I don’t think of Trader Joe’s. However, I have recently found an amazing option that is both sour and sweet and tastes refreshingly crisp. The drink in question can be found right next to the tangerine juice and a few feet over from the milk: Fresh Squeezed Lemonade (Unpasteurized). Surprisingly cheap, this lemonade tasted like lazy afternoons spent by an overly chlorine-filled pool with a greasy cheeseburger for under $5 for a medium-sized jug. The first sip had me thinking this lemonade was too sour to be consumed, but then as I continued, I grew to enjoy the tartness, and it was steadily balanced out by the natural citrus essence.  

If you’re looking for a fancier lemonade that requires more than sweatpants and a quick grocery jaunt, I’d recommend Lemonade. With its namesake, you’d hope Lemonade would have delicious lemonade, and I’m happy to report their original (sweetened) beverage does not disappoint. This lemonade is a tad pricey, but in my opinion, it’s worth it. I’ve driven all the way to Manhattan Beach from my humble abode in Redondo just for a sip of this beverage. This lemonade is less sour and sweeter than Trader Joe’s’, providing for a different ratio of tang to sweetness. The price is $3.45 for a one size only cup of lemonade, which is less cost effective than the Trader Joe’s jug, but still relatively cheap.

The final contender of where to find good lemonade is at Wetzel’s Pretzels. When I think of Wetzel’s Pretzels, my mind conjures buttery and salty pretzels and a parched mouth that screams to be drenched in liquid. Lemonade is the perfect contender. More expensive than the previous options, lemonade from this joint is $4.69 for a medium sized cup, which has more ice than lemonade. Despite this unfortunate ratio, the times I was able to sip actual lemonade were fantastic; this lemonade is the sweetest of all three yet somehow manages to leave your tastebuds wanting more because of the intrinsic tartness. Despite the price, Wetzel’s Pretzels is an amazing contender for amazing lemonade in the South Bay. 

All in all, you really cannot go wrong with lemonade from Trader Joe’s, Lemonade, or Wetzel’s Pretzels. All three offer unique ratios of sourness/sweetness but will be delicious to enjoy. If I were to rate these three lemonades, Lemonade would be first on my list, followed by Trader Joe’s and then Wetzel’s Pretzels—if only because Lemonade is more cost-effective than Wetzel’s Pretzels, and can be purchased at a café-environment rather than a little old grocery store like Trader Joe’s. And that’s that. You now have three delectably unique options for good lemonade—and if you ever find yourself sipping bad lemonade, please run for the hills.