When life gives you lemons, make Limonana
Cold, minty lemonade is Israel’s culinary contribution to heat relief.
When Israel’s brief spring leaps into summer – and it can happen inside a week – everyone starts carrying water bottles around and taking big gulps out of them. We know a lot about staying hydrated. But it’s not all plain H2O. The summer heat also gives us a reason to plop down into a chair at the nearest sidewalk cafe and order a tall, frosted glass of limonana, one of the most refreshing drinks in the country. It’s sweetened lemon juice blended with fresh mint and lots of ice, and the flavor is intense.
Maybe it’s all that vitamin C – mint is loaded with it, and of course lemons are, too – or maybe it’s all that ice. But drinking limonana gives fast heat relief, like turning on a personal air conditioner. The way to enjoy it is slowly, sipping it through a straw and feeling your overheated self returning to coolness and optimism.
But who buys bottled limonana anymore? It’s so easy to make at home. The ingredients are simple and few, and with a blender, it takes mere minutes to create the essential Israeli summer drink.
- 1 cup fresh lemon juice
- 1/2 cup mint leaves, loosely packed
- 1 cup cold water
- 4 tablespoons granulated sugar
- 2 cups ice cubes
- 2-4 fresh whole mint sprigs for garnishing
Put all the ingredients in the blender and blend at high speed. When the ice is crushed, the limonana is ready.
Pour into tall glasses and garnish with whole mint sprigs. Serve right away.
Tips and notes:
You can make a slushy limonana: Omit the cold water and increase the ice cubes to 3 cups.
If you’d rather not use sugar, substitute the sweetener your prefer for it.
If, on the other hand, 4 tablespoons of sugar doesn’t taste sweet enough, add one or two more tablespoons and blend again. But don’t over-sweeten the drink. You want to taste and enjoy the strong natural flavors, not overwhelm them with sweetness.