Juneteenth is an American holiday on June 19, celebrating the freedom of Black African Americans from slavery. President Abraham Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation on January 1, 1863. However, it took years for the news to travel and for the states to enforce the order.1 On June 19, 1865, the last enslaved African Americans were emancipated in Galveston, Texas. This marked the beginning of Juneteenth.

This important moment in African American history has become a celebration of gratitude and freedom for all people.2

Many Juneteenth celebrations include foods that blend African heritage with Southern tradition. Staples include leafy greens, black-eyed peas, okra, barbecued meats and beans. Most menus feature foods that are red, like fruit and red velvet cakes. Red honors symbolism that comes from many West African cultures. It stands for strength, spirituality, life and death.3

Juneteenth foods

  • Barbecued meats
  • Okra
  • Red velvet cake
  • Red fruits

The most common red item found on Juneteenth tables is “red drink.” The original red drink was tea brewed from hibiscus flowers that were native to West Africa. The red drink evolved into lemonade flavored with cherry, strawberry or watermelon and even red sodas.

We’ve included a recipe for a delicious red drink to enjoy during your celebrations. Remember to serve it with gratitude, freedom, strength and spirituality!

2 glasses filled with a fresh strawberry spritzer

Strawberry mint spritzer

Makes 5 servings | Prep: 5 minutes


  • 5 oz frozen strawberries
  • 1 liter (about 3 12-ounce cans) lemon-flavored sparkling water, chilled
  • 6 oz pink lemonade frozen concentrate, thawed
  • ¼ cup mint leaves, chopped
  • Lemon slices, garnish


  • Place strawberries in a blender or food processor. Puree until smooth.
  • In a pitcher, add sparkling water, lemonade and chopped mint, then stir.
  • Add pureed strawberries to the bottom of drinking glasses or a pitcher.
  • Pour mint/lemonade mixture on top of pureed strawberries.
  • Garnish with lemon slices.

Nutrition information per serving (8 oz)

Calories 27; Fat 0 g; Sat. fat 0 g; Sodium 16 mg; Cholesterol 0 mg; Carbs 7 g; Fiber 1 g; Sugars 2 g; Protein 0 g; Potassium 28 mg

Toast your loved ones with symbolic and refreshing colorful drinks this June.

Speak with a dietitian today

Have you ever toyed with the idea of adding vegetarian or vegan foods to your meal plan? Try these delicious plant-based swaps (really)!

Published June 14, 2023


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