Red Food And Drinks For Juneteenth

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Juneteenth began as a celebration of the emancipation day of enslaved African Americans. Today, this federal holiday reminds us of the resilience and determination of a nation of Black people.

Celebrations of Juneteenth often involve African American communities coming together for gatherings with friends and family. These events typically include a delicious spread of cherished soul food recipes. From watermelon salad to red velvet cake and hibiscus tea, we see red food influences on soul food for Juneteenth.

Juneteenth Red Foods Drinks Watermelon Red Soda

Why is Juneteenth food red?

Juneteenth celebrations bring together friends and family for joyous gatherings with a particular emphasis on red foods and drinks as a way to pay tribute to the ancestors.

The color red carries deep symbolic meaning, representing the bloodshed of our African American ancestors who suffered and sacrificed for the freedoms we cherish today. It’s a powerful reminder of their struggles and the resilience of the Black community in the face of adversity.

Why is Juneteenth food red?

Red Juneteenth food

African food culture and traditions greatly influence what African Americans eat today. In many West African cultures, red symbolizes strength, spirituality, life, and death.  

While Juneteenth has grown to include celebrating African-American culture and heritage, Juneteenth red food and drinks have always been a part of the jubilee day festivities. 

Juneteenth red foods are not only delicious but also symbolic. Red is one of the primary colors used by African Americans to celebrate Black History

So when you celebrate Juneteenth, make sure to celebrate with Juneteenth red foods in African American style and tradition. 

Why is red food eaten on Juneteenth? Watermelon Red Soda, BBQ, Red Velvet Cake, Watermeon Salad
Steve Harvey Homemade BBQ Sauce Recipe
Steve Harvey BBQ Sauce
Use Uncle Steve's delicious and easy-to-make homemade red BBQ sauce recipe to slather on all your favorite Juneteenth meats!
Check out this recipe!
Black Folks Soul Food BBQ Ribs Recipe
BBQ Ribs Recipe
These sticky, sweet, red sauce BBQ ribs are always a hit and a beloved main dish for Black BBQs, cookouts, and Juneteenth celebrations.
Check out this recipe!
Southern Soul Food BBQ Chicken Recipe
BBQ Chicken Recipe
This recipe for Southern soul food BBQ chicken with sticky, sweet red BBQ sauce is ideal for celebrating Juneteenth.
Check out this recipe!
Black Folks Southern Pulled BBQ Chicken
Pulled BBQ Chicken
A Southern-pulled BBQ chicken recipe is the epitome of finger-lickin’ good! It's the ultimate no-fail BBQ chicken recipe and ideal for red foods for Juneteenth.
Check out this recipe!
Black Folks Pork Jowl In The Air Fryer
Candied Pork Jowl Bacon
This is a modern take on a traditional soul food pork jowl recipe, featuring a delightful blend of sweet and savory flavors. It's prepared faster and easier, yet still turns out perfectly thanks to the air fryer!
Check out this recipe!
Black Folks Southern Soul Food Baked Beans
Soul Food Baked Beans
The difference between this recipe for great soul food baked beans and average baked beans lies in the preparation and seasoning.
Check out this recipe!
Black Folks Soul Food Red Beans And Rice
Soul Food Red Beans And Rice
This Juneteenth red foods recipe will tantalize your taste buds with the enticing aroma of flavorful seasonings and spices, allowing the kidney beans to absorb the rich essence of this dish!
Check out this recipe!
Soul Food Southern Pasta With Italian Dressing
Soul Food Pasta With Italian Dressing
It's the flavorful pasta dish you've come to expect from your favorite African American cookouts and family gatherings!
Check out this recipe!
Southern Soul Food Tomato Watermelon Salad
Southern Tomato Watermelon Salad
This Juneteenth favorite recipe is a classy Southern dish that combines juicy tomatoes and watermelon with feta cheese, pickled onions, pickled peppers, and zesty cilantro!
Check out this recipe!
Red Cabbage Slaw | Juneteenth Red Foods
Southern Red Cabbage Slaw
Southern red cabbage slaw is a delicious blend of red cabbage, carrots, celery, onion, herbs, and savory soul food seasonings, making it a perfect addition to a Juneteenth red foods menu!
Check out this recipe!
Black Folks Southern Red Velvet Cake Recipe
Southern Red Velvet Cake
Red velvet cake is often considered the official cake of Juneteenth due to its Southern soul food origins and bright red coloring, making it a must-have for your holiday celebration!
Check out this recipe!
Why do you eat and drink red food on Juneteenth?

Red drinks for Juneteenth

At Juneteenth celebrations, you’ll also find many beverages in strawberry and watermelon flavors. Even Big Red Cream Soda, a Texas specialty, still holds a special place at the table during Juneteenth gatherings. Traditional Juneteenth drinks include red tea, homemade red craft sodas, store-bought red sodas, and red Kool-Aid drinks.

Juneteenth Red Drink - Red Soda Water
Juneteenth Red Soda Water
Choosing red soda water as an alternative to the traditional hibiscus drink for Juneteenth.
Check out this recipe!
Juneteenth Southern Hibiscus Sweet Tea
Southern Hibiscus Sweet Tea
Hibiscus tea has been integral to Black culture since its inception. This delicious red drink is made from hibiscus flowers native to West Africa.
Check out this recipe!

What is the official drink of Juneteenth?

Red hibiscus tea is the iconic red drink steeped in Juneteenth history.

This popular beverage has significant historical ties to the holiday because of its red color and the use of hibiscus flowers, which are native to West Africa and are still used there today to make tea.

What is Juneteenth, and why is it celebrated?

How to organize a Juneteenth celebration 

Come together with your family and friends to enjoy a variety of Juneteenth recipes. You can also invite your guests to join in by bringing a dish from the Juneteenth menu. If you’re organizing a potluck, consider rewarding anyone who brings red food for Juneteenth.

During your gathering, be sure to engage in conversations and activities focused on justice, reform, voting rights, and equal rights for Black people.

Have you ever tried Juneteenth red foods? Let me know which ones you’ll be trying this year.

Juneteenth History

Hungry for more?

Along with Black food bloggers like myself and The Soul Food Pot recipes, you can also check out the illustrated book Juneteenth Is, which includes recipe source acknowledgments to my red food recipes, and Nicole A. Taylor’s Juneteenth book Watermelon and Red Birds: A Cookbook for Juneteenth and Black Celebrations.

Juneteenth Watermelon Red Soda Recipe

Juneteenth Red Foods & Drinks | Watermelon Red Soda

Juneteenth's red foods and drinks are not only delicious but also symbolic. Red is one of the primary colors used by African Americans to celebrate Juneteenth Black History, including this easy-to-make watermelon red soda recipe.
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Fruit Chopping Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 10 minutes
Course: Drinks
Cuisine: Soul Food
Servings: 6
Calories: 189kcal


  • 1 cup syrup I used Monin red watermelon syrup HERE
  • 3 ½ cups lemon-lime soda
  • 3 ½ cups sparkling water
  • 1 cup ginger ale
  • ¾ cup watermelon chopped
  • ¾ cup strawberries chopped
  • ¾ cup blueberries
  • 4 cups ice optional


  • Add the watermelon syrup, lemon-lime soda, sparkling water, and ginger ale to a large pitcher or punch bowl.
  • Gently stir to combine.
  • Then add the chopped fruit to the soda mixture.
  • Optionally add 4 cups of ice to the pitcher, serve this Juneteenth watermelon soda in cups or glass tumblers, and enjoy!



Calories: 189kcal | Carbohydrates: 50g | Protein: 0.4g | Fat: 0.2g | Saturated Fat: 0.01g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.05g | Monounsaturated Fat: 0.02g | Sodium: 67mg | Potassium: 51mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 49g | Vitamin A: 90IU | Vitamin C: 10mg | Calcium: 21mg | Iron: 0.2mg
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The Ultimate Soul Food Recipes Guide
The Ultimate Soul Food Recipes Guide
What is soul food? Soul food recipes are African-American recipes full of flavor! A legacy of Southern cooking the Black way. Check out this collection of the best soul food recipes!
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5 from 3 votes (3 ratings without comment)

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