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Picture of Black Lemonade

Black lemonade is a refreshing drink that gets its black color from activated charcoal.

Activated charcoal has many health benefits including: preventing hangovers, whitening teeth, anti-aging, and removing toxins from the body. It works by bonding to toxins which get carried out of the body through elimination. (There is a much more scientific explanation of how this works in the link above.)

*Please note that I am not a doctor so do your homework before taking activated charcoal for yourself! It can interfere with some medications.

Step 1: Best Black Lemonade Recipe

Black lemonade is a quick and simple recipe requiring just a few ingredients. You probably have most of them in your kitchen already...except the charcoal.

Black Lemonade

  • juice of one lemon
  • 1-2 capsules activated charcoal
  • stevia or maple syrup
  • water
  • ice


Cut lemon in half and squeeze it with a juicer releasing the juice. Make sure to pick out any seeds that may sneak in. Add lemon juice to a 16 ounce glass.

Break open 1-2 activated charcoal capsules (check dosage on your bottle or container), add to the lemon juice, and stir to combine.

Fill glass to the top with ice and add water. Stir in sweetener to taste. I used 5 drops of stevia. (I like it tart!)

Garnish with a slice of lemon. Drink and enjoy!

**It is important to drink enough water when taking activated charcoal. Some of you may ask 'Why not just take the capsule instead of mixing it in a drink?'. I do this simply so I know that I am consuming enough water to circulate the charcoal well enough in my system. Plus, since activated charcoal has no flavor, the lemonade is delicious!! :)

huyyy14 months ago
wow very clever. going to give it a try. though it looks like it will taste weird
jorgemath4 months ago
It's perfect for halloween.
SaraB1802 years ago
The activated charcoal that is sold in stores in NOT the same as what you would encounter as the activated charcoal in the ER. First off it's no where near the potency of ER and it depends on how it was made.
It is not used in treating poisoning. It is used in treating mild cases of gas or very mild gastroenteritis. It is used homeopathically to whiten teeth, remove stains from skin, and to remove smells/ detox when mixed with bentonite clay and apple cider vinegar from arm pits and groins.
It can interfere with a very few medications and will not help a hangover.
While I am not a doctor, I do have a certification in Homeopathic remedies. I am studying for my licensing in herbalism and in aromatherapy.
I would not suggest serving this drink to anyone that you do not have the full background information on even though the charcoal is going to bind to the acid before it is even drunk. However, if you use two full capsules and an unknown ratio of lemon juice, it would be unverifiable. You would be potentially putting someone at risk.
Webmd does have a list of medications that interact with activated charcoal and more information if you need it. Also many great books about herbalism and holistic medicine will cover activated charcoal and to be cautious when using internally.


Excellent answer Sara! Especially about the a.c. binding to the acids before ingestion. The first time I heard about using a.c. as a supplement was when I was traveling overseas to Asia. Apparently if you take like a 60 capsule bottle after returning from extensive travel to highly polluted cities with smog it will bind to the free radicals and remove the toxic heavy metals within your system. (especially if you have an organic Whole Foods diet and do periodic detoxing:)

ME when clicking on Instructable: "What is that, shoe polish?"

ME after reading Instructable: "Oh."

True story.


If you look at the source article for the supposed health benefits, you'd see that "Dr. Axe" isn't an MD.

Even worse, the site gives no evidence that he's an axe, either.

(or she?)

(are axes gendered? do they use 'he' and 'she' as pronouns?)

I wish there was a like button for comments. haha

Don't know about Proof, but there is info about "he" with picture...

There are Bearded axes, which admittedly could still be female if you count Dwarves (Tolkein-style).

SeanB101 year ago

I <3 how the comments fill out the knowledge, i.e. it also absorbs meds so be smart. (And also apparently interferes with the GI tract) I just thought it'd be a nice plot element to a story: Coke is clear in near infra red, I doubt this is. Kid "spy" googles are cheap IR viewers. I swear, you'll see it in a movie as soon as Hollywood finishes "Goodnight Moon 6"

Patrik2 years ago

Do NOT use activated charcoal if you are a woman using birth control pills! Or are taking any kind of other medication, really... Serving this at a party to a bunch of folks whose medical history you are clueless about would be highly irresponsible, IMHO.

I accidentally discovered a fun and far safer method for producing an almost-black drink a few years ago: blueberry smoothie + spirulina! The dark purple from the blueberries plus dark green from the spirulina turn the smoothie almost completely black. And at least you won't be risking any unexpected pregnancies...

I'm not sure what you serve at parties, but charcoal would not be the biggest concern for 'risking unexpected pregnancies' at the ones I have been to - nudge nudge, wink wink.

oh you are funny. and you are right. hahaha .

R1Ch0 Patrik2 years ago
Dont worry about the charcoal, the moment you put it in with the lemonade the benefit is completely negated. Since the benefit is derived from the massive surface area putting it with stuff immediately fills the pores.
The interaction with orally injested medicines is only really an issue for about an hour(ish) more on an empty stomach.
It is however a brilliant way to remove all those pesky vitamins that are so hopelessly overpowered by sugars in the lemonade anyway and would not stand a chance either way they tried to reach you. :P


oh, that sounds perfectly HEALTHY & so delicious! i'm crazy about blueberries, & i've been interested in using spirulina for a while. thank-you for the fun recipe!

This is visually very dramatic. all you need is a neon colored straw to complete the look! excellent.

LeslieGeee1 year ago

If you are concerned about using activated charcoal and still want to make this drink because it is cool looking. Go to Joann's Fabrics or Michael's Craft store and pick up some black food coloring. It comes in paste form and you can mix a bit in a little warm water to dissolve it to get the color you want :)

jwines11 year ago

You are correct Patrick! it rids the body of toxins and that includes medicine. So if you are on ANY medications don't do this.

LặngL31 year ago


Nate Lu1 year ago

Wow looks AWESOME


I have been working as a mixologist and bar/beverage consultant for the past 25yrs; and this recent craze for anything black IS DANGEROUS! Activated charcoal does not differentiate between bacteria and medicine; it absorbs everything alike.

Playing with unknown substances and/or herb for the sake of Instagram/Facebook likes can drastically change you life... birth control, heart tablets etc etc are likely to be be rendered ineffective if ingested with activated charcoal.

If your bartender ever serve you an activated charcoal drink and is not aware of the consequences, I would urge you to seek another bar!

Many of us (doctors & herbalists included) are trying to raise the awareness of this issue (as well as the dangers of home-made tinctures, liquid nitrogen and all the likes); and to see posts like this NOT being monitored by anyone is clearly dangerous!

If the black drink is your thing, try squid ink (the salty tang can and often provides an interesting dimension!) or simply food coloring!

If you doubt my comments, please read the package notice or simply ask your physician!
ZeroviaS2 years ago

Great recipe. Stevia in itself a great substitute for sugar. And is very beneficial for health. I think adding Zerovia in it would be the best thing. What you think ?

wold630 (author)  ZeroviaS2 years ago

Since Zerovia is stevia I think it would be the same. :)

SydniU2 years ago
What's wrong with yellow lemonade? I was told by my doctor to not drink this. And I am only prescribed a water pill. Not worth the risk.
BaileyM242 years ago
Where can I find charcoal capsules? Do they sell them at Walmart? If so, what isle would they be on?

Yes, and they should be near the gas pills.

you can buy it from amazon

DallasO32 years ago

Jen, I'm looking to use a photo from here (with credit to you) for a post about the lemonade. Would link back to this page.

TondaC12 years ago
It will stain anything it gets on.

Do NOT use if on any medication. Activated charcoal is what hospitals use to absorb medication in cases of overdoses.

Because this uses only a little I don't know about this; but this hospital is very gritty.
AndrewP3042 years ago

I have that exact miyabi! And the Kaizen pairing and chef, along with the birchwood chef knife, I'm saving up for their Black Ash handled knives

darcyjr52 years ago
If you get the flu or nausea or vomiting from food poisoning, mushroom poisoning, charcoal is your best natural remedy. Comment is correct about meds though. It will absorb the bad and the good so be careful with people taking meds.
darcyjr52 years ago
I have never had charcoal stain anything. It whitens your teeth when you brush with it. I use it often and have never had it stain anything. Maybe there is an additive to medical charcoal? That would make it stain?
QazW22 years ago

concerning "settling" problem mentioned.... Assuming the "hours" needed, a simple pump fountain should keep the carbon circulating. I think I remember an instructables from a few years ago (at least two I think) that did just that... Frankly it has been so long that not sure it was here but cannot think where it would have been otherwise (I'm thinking saw it before I knew about Maker)

MoP12 years ago

Love that Miyabi purty! <3

hmcnally2 years ago

Looks like Darth Vader's lemonade.

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