Lemonade or Limonade, that is the Question !

The village of Munster and its Collegiate Church

Munster, sa collégiale et la limonaderie Geyer frères/Lorina — Munster, its Church and Geyer Frères/Lorina Limonaderie

You will think that this is a pretty common scene in rural France, and you might be right. There is nothing extraordinary about seeing the steeple of a church pointing in the distance since almost every French village has one. Even my home village with its mere 600 people.

Yet, lost in the middle of rural Moselle in the North-Eastern part of France, this church stands as different compared to its neighboring sisters. Not even only a church, but rather a collegiate church. In fact, on top of having an appealing history, it can be seen on every single bottle of Lorina Limonade, which before being called so was once called Limonade Geyer Frères.

You might have been lucky to find this type of limonade here in the US, or in other countries. Although it is not necessarily easily found everywhere — you find it at WholeFoods in the US — I read that 36% of the company’s sales comes from Exportations. While growing up, this drink was just special to my brother and I. Any time we had it on the table, it felt as it were un jour de fête (festive day). If we were allowed to drink de la limonade au déjeuner (drink limonade at lunch), then our mum must have been happy with us! It was a treat!

Munster, sa collégiale et la limonaderie Geyer Frères/Lorina
(Munster, its Collegiate Church and the Geyer Frères/Lorina Lemonade Brewery)

It is nice for me to talk about food specialities and products that come from my area, this time even more as it all happened only a few kimoleters from home.

If you drive five kilometers in any direction away from Albestroff, my home village, you can always find another neighboring village, similar yet so different in its culture and people. It is an interesting thing to notice that no matter how small a village is, les villageois develop a strong sense of indentity and belonging. I remember growing up and talking about my friends from other villages as “il vient d’Insming, ça explique tout !” (He comes from Insming, it explains it all!) Rivalries between the different villages were common, as if it were simply human nature to behave like this. The village of Munster was no exception. In fact, it was even more different and proud — and for good reasons — because of two treasures it keeps: its magnificent 13th century collegiate church and its limonaderie (lemonade brewery).

Let me clarify here in case you might be confused. I am not referring to Munster as in Munster the cheese (the village where the cheese comes from is in Alsace) but Munster in Lorraine. You see, even in France is it possible to find villages or towns bearing the same name. Cela arrive ! (It happens!)

The link that exists between the collegiate church and the limonaderie Geyer is pretty simple. The two Geyer brothers designed limonade glass bottles with an engraved drawing of the collégiale on each, as a way to show where the limonade was coming from. Because Munster is really known for its amazing church. In such a small village, it is simply impossible not to notice it. It dominates the whole area.

Histoire de la collégiale – History of the Collegiate Church

Imagine two great spikes dominating the whole surrounding countryside, as they stand at 240 feet high (73 meters). The work to build the church, la collégiale St Nicolas de Munster, was started in 1250 in Munster, under the initiative of Merbode and rural chanoines. While the choir was completed in 1292, the transept was only finished in 1337. Different periods in history marked difficult times, when the church was first savaged during the Thirty Years War, then burnt by the Swedes in 1637. In 1771, it was restored for the first time, in 1859 for the second time. Inside, you can discover beautiful polychrom stone statues dating back from the 14th and 15th centuries along with sculpted arches of pure beauty. Do you remember the terrible storm that ocurred in France in 1999? It was so severe that it actually caused damage to this gigantic monument. Since then, the church has been undergoing renovations, as seen on the first pictures. But what I particularly like is this part of its history. Did you know that an exact copy of this church exists in Denver, Colorado in the US? It was built under the initiative of Nicholas C. Matz, appointed bishop of Denver, but who was simply born in Munster in 1850. And this is how the story of a church links two places so far away, yet so close: Munster in the North-East of France and Denver in the West of the US.

Old Limonaderie Geyer Frères — New Construction for the Limonaderie Lorina

Bottles of Limonade Lorina

Le paradoxe de la langue — Language Paradox

What is so special about this limonade then?

Limonade translates as lemonade, don’t you think?

Not quite so!

In fact, do not expect to get a lemonade if you ask for une limonade in French.

Yes that is right!

A lemonade is not une limonade.
A lemonade is un citron pressé.

Do you get that?

And, une limonade is rather something similar to Sprite in France. Confused yet? In other words, une limonade will be sparkling! Pétillante! But so much nicer than a Sprite! Well-balanced, sparkling and not too sweet. My brother and I always found that the limonade Geyer was more sparkling than other limonades we would drink! In fact, we always asked my mum to buy this one as opposed to other possible brands. Parce qu’elle était plus pétillante (because it was more sparkling). I will spare you the reason why we thought we thought it was fun, but if you have imagination, you can surely guess. And so, I thought this would be good information to keep in mind, should you travel to France one day, or should anyone come to the US. Because, as a French person living in the US, I was also surprised the first time I ordered a lemonade. I was expecting something similar to une limonade, but instead, I got un citron pressé. Language tricked me. In linguistics, this is what we call a false-friend (un faux ami).

While I really like limonade — I should add that I only discovered the new Lorina flavors overseas as the most common one in France is the plain one — I actually love what we call lemonade here in the US. I find this drink very refreshing to have in the summer, and year round. It is easy to prepare and keeps well in the fridge, to be enjoyed during the course of summery days. Just on time before we say good bye to summer for good.

I am no expert into making limonade, so instead, I thought of presenting the recipe of one of my favorite non-alcoholic summer drinks here in the US. Lemonade and not limonade. I think I am still confused once in a while.

My Ginger Lemonade

You need:

  • 2 quarts water
  • 2.5 ” fresh root ginger
  • 1 cup fine sugar
  • 2 cups freshly squeezed lemon juice


  • Bring to a boil the sugar, sliced ginger and water in a pot.
  • When boiling, remove the pot from the heat and add the lemon juice.
  • Let cool for a 10 mns or so, then remove the ginger slices. Place in the fridge and serve very fresh. Then drink!

Le coin français

Mon citron pressé au gingembre

Ingrédients :

  • 1,8 l d’eau
  • 6 cm de racine de gingembre
  • 200 g de sucre fin
  • 475 ml de jus de citron frais

Étapes :

  • Faites bouillir le sucre, les tranches de gingembre et l’eau dans une casserole.
  • Une fois à ébullition, retirez la casserole du feu et ajoutez le jus de citron.
  • Laissez refroidir environ 10 mns et retirez les tranches de gingembre. Placez la boisson au frigidaire pour la laisser refroidir. Servez très frais ! Sirotez!

Thanks to my dad for taking shots of the church for me!

Posted in French Inspired, Fruit


  1. Maybe not as confusing as you think. “Lemonade” in the UK or Australia is “Sprite” in the US. (ie. Australian and British lemonade sparkles, too). And you think that English is just one language… 🙂 (I’m an Australian living in the US. I’m constantly confused).

  2. Ahh, what a great post. I felt like I was traveling in France. And I have seen those pretty Lorina bottles in my grocery store, but I’ve never bought one. Well, I must correct that soon. The pictures are beautiful!!!!!!

  3. Wow! I live in Denver and never knew that piece of history about our Basilica. My boss’ husband is a deacon there.

    A few years ago one of the spires was hit by lightening raining stones down upon the main avenue of our city. It has since been rebuilt.

    It is such a small world. Thank you for that bit of history.

  4. Gorgeous pictures of the French country side – I love the little towns.
    Lemonade is my husband’s favorite summer time drink. I must look for Limonade when we are in Franch!
    Love the lemonade glass!!

  5. I’m as confused as yourself and Katie. I grew up with an English mother and American father in (french speaking) Belgium where I drank limonade. However, everytime I visit my american family I always have to stop and think whether I really want sprite or as we call it ‘american lemonade’. Here in Australia, where I live now, it’s virtually impossible to get american lemonade, ours is all sparkling like the French version. So I’m very much looking forward to making your recipe now that it’s getting closer to spring here. Also, thanks for the metric units!

  6. Interesting post, I never knew about the difference between the two, Thanks for the post!

  7. Ce qui est bien c’est que j’aime les deux (lemonade et limonade). Et moi non plus je ne suis pas experte pour faire de la “limonade” (certains ajoutent à leur citronnade tantôt des fruits secs non lavés pour la fermentation, tantôt de la levure de bière, ou d’autres une eau gazeuse à petites bulles type Perrier) mais je ne m’y suis jamais essayée. S’il y a fermentation, il faut attendre 2 jours avant de déguster, s’il y a eau gazeuse, le résultat se consomme illico !

  8. Oh, Bea! Thanks for clearing that up for us 🙂

    You have the best accessories, ever!!! I really love the pitcher and glasses set. How i wish to get my hands on a set of these! I’ve fallen so in-love with them – i MUST have a set! Oh, drool…

  9. J’aime beaucoup la pink limonade, la seule disponible par ici… par contre, je ne pense pas avoir jamais goûté de lemonade! Oubli à réparer!

  10. I love love Lorina’s lImonade. Merci d’eclairir le mystere du lemonade US.
    And those pictures! Do i need to say how much i LOVE them?


  11. Pour moi, au Québec, une limonade est une lemonade, et une limonade française, une boisson pétillante au citron! J’ai été tout aussi surprise la première fois où, en France, j’ai commandé une limonade et qu’elle m’est arrivée avec des bulles…

  12. J’aime quand tu nous parles du pays Bea. Et tes verres de limonade au gingembres sont sacrement attirants.

  13. Wow, what a beautiful village! Reminds me of my home-town in the Czech Republic. The limonade looks so refreshing, yum!

  14. Hi all,

    Thanks so much for your comments. I am still travelling so will respond more when i return. I am glad the post could bring some light in the difference for those drinks. Or maybe not ahah! In any case, both limonade and lemonade are great drinks, aren’t they?

  15. Ummm….I’m confused too now. Better stick with making my own.

    It’s so much safer!

  16. It is by sheer coincidence tha I found your website as I the was looking for the weather in Insming .I am native of Insming (cela explique tout),I live in Florida in the winter and am a resident of Canada the rest of the time
    I too was brought up with the limonade de Munster,went there many times,had friends in Albestroff (Irene Doiron) and others ,that I forgotten the names of.I will investigate you website further .I may try and visit your etablissement mayby on our way home to Nova-Scotia.Regards Bernie

  17. My great-grandfather was Phillip Geyer. He and his wife Johanna Brockenhauer-Geyer migrated to the US in the 1850’s. In researching, we know they were from the Alsace-Lourraine region, but we were stumped when we had to read hand-written German records from the 1840’s. We are wondering if there is a Phillip Geyer in the “Geyer Brothers” genealogy. We’d love to get back on the right track in our family research.

  18. I live in Florida. I purchased bottles of your pink lemonade “L’authentique” old fashioned sparkling at a store called Wal-Mart but that was years ago and havent found this brand anywhere since. If you could tell me if this is sold so i may purchase more, I would greatly appreciate it. It is the best i have ever tasted. Thank you so much. L Rohe

  19. Hi Bea,
    Do you know where the two Geyer brothers originally came from? My mothers maiden name is Geyer, but I can only trace family back to Wisconsin (United States).
    I tried this WONDERFUL drink purely by accident. I was shopping in Cost Plus World Markets in Folsom, California, USA, when I found it. The name intrigued me (for obvious reasons) so I decided to try it. WOW! Is was delicious. Thanks for the recipe.

  20. Judith,

    The Geyers freres come from a small village called Munster, close to where I am from in France. It is in Moselle, Lorraine. You might want to check it out there. Good luck!


  21. Hi,
    Do you sale your limonade in the US or can I order some?

  22. Hi, I discouvered this delicious drink in a store in Holland called the ALDI
    It is not named as they use to call it in France, but the name ‘Geyer Freres’
    is inscripted in the bottle
    What I’m drinking is citron but there were many tastes
    After taking a look on this site, I noticed that there was a lot to do about
    this subject
    Not only a drink but also a genealogic search to the name Geyer
    Very interesting ! The name Geyer is not common in Holland, ther are only for about 10 Geyers in the telephonebook

  23. I would like to purchase some empty bottles. Do you know how I could do that?

  24. Where or how can I purchase L’authentique sparkling pink lemonade?

  25. i want to know where to buy l’authentiqe old fashioned sparking pink lemonade or any other that you made. i’ve had the pink and liked it very much.
    thank you

  26. Hi Lois,

    Most likely you can find it in delicacy stores and Whole Foods in the US.

  27. Hello can jou tell us where we can buy de citroen lemonade.
    where living in holland in Rotterdam.
    very good lemonade.
    take jou

  28. I want to make contact with Aline Waring Kesseler, daughter of M et Mme Vyes Kessler and grand daaughter of M & Mme Geyer. I leaved in their home in Munster in the 1960s while I was teaching on the Canadian base nearby called 2 Wing. Aline has been tring to ocntact me by Facebook to which I do NOT belong. Plese send her my email address (above) so we can correspond. J’espere qu’ell peut me contacter maintenant. David Stanley-Porter

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  30. do you happen to know the year they changed the name to lorina limonade?

  31. A friend gave me two bottles of the sparkling lemonade with 1895 stamped in the glass. I assume this is reproduction glass. Do you have any idea?

  32. Bonne Chance!

    What a delightful story about rural France.

    I would like to share a recipe that I found on Epicurious…and added Sparkling Limonade Soda with the lemonade (Recipe above). So you can enjoy both beverages at the time.

    1 cup lemonade
    1/2 cup Limonade soda
    1/4 cup pomegranate juice
    Ice cubes

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