I grew up with store-bought lemonades of various brands, most notably Minute Maid and Turkey Hill. I'm not sure why, but I don't think I had even heard of limeade until my teens. My head exploded when I first realized people did to limes what I had previously thought only done to lemons, and since that moment, I've been a limeade devotee.
Maybe it's a Latin-American thing, or possibly a west coast thing, but Sonia grew up with limeade as the staple citrus fruit-based beverage available in her childhood refrigerator. She's always preferred it to lemonade. So again, considering our bias towards limes over lemons and commercially-manufactured juices over the kind mama made, maybe we shouldn't be reviewing this fresh squeezed lemonade product...but here goes just the same.
We've seen numerous iterations of lemonade from Trader Joe's throughout the years, although most have been combined with other elements like tea or other juices. So what makes this one different?
First, it's unpasteurized. They keep all those tasty bacteria in this version—for extra flavor, I guess? Maybe the acidity of the lemon juice keeps the little buggers at bay without necessitating any heat via pasteurization. I'm sure someone will enlighten us via our illustrious comments section.
Second, there are only three ingredients. Three. Water, lemon juice, sugar. That's my favorite thing about this product. It's simple. In these days of complexity, it's nice to see something so clean and straightforward.
Mind you, if I had been the one formulating this product, I might have reversed those last two ingredients. I might have put sugar ahead of lemon juice and made this beverage predominantly sweet, rather than tart. I'm not saying it's not sweet. I'm just saying it leans in the direction of sour more than sugary. Sonia agrees. It's still refreshing. It's still got what I would assume is a "homemade quality" about it.
We both liked it just fine, but we would like to see a Trader Joe's Fresh Squeezed Limeade on the shelves next time with the exact same ingredients used here, except with "lime juice" replacing "lemon juice." Limes are sweeter than lemons, so that might knock the tartness down a notch. Also, tequila works okay with lemonade, but it's absolutely perfect with lime-based beverages. Am I right?
If you love the tartness of real lemon juice, you'll likely love this remarkably uncomplicated beverage. $3.49 for the 1.6 quart bottle. This product gets three and a half stars a piece from Sonia and me.
Bottom line: 7 out of 10.