I think I can say, unequivocally, that there is no more refreshing drink than limonana – Israeli mint lemonade. It starts off with the delicious refreshingness of homemade lemonade, then kicks it up a notch by adding fresh mint, for a doubly cooling, extra thirst-quenching glassful of rejuvenation. It cools, restores and soothes, while also being zingy and invigorating. It is the drink to answer all your summer beverage needs!
Seriously though, it’s terrific! I’ve always been a fan of homemade lemonade, or citron pressé, or anything with a sharp-sweet citrus flavour. But when I discovered limonana on a trip to Israel many years ago, I knew I’d hit the jackpot, drink-wise.
Below is the recipe for the most simple version – just lemon, mint, sugar and water. You can make it a bit more exciting by using fizzy water (soda) although I prefer it uncarbonated. You do need lots of ice though, and if the fancy takes you, you can also put all the ingredients in a blender with ice and make a limonana slush, which is also fabulous.
If you’re feeling particularly adult, a shot of lemon vodka (or even plain vodka) in the limonana also goes down a treat.
I do think it’s essential to use all the lemon flesh though, and not just the juice. Those little fleshy cells, which are apparently called ‘juice vesicles‘ should be floating around in the limonana alongside the bits of chopped up mint. This is a drink with texture! You get a little pop of citrus each time one bursts in your mouth. Zingy!
The recipe makes one serving of limonana, but you can easily scale up to make a jugful for a crowd. Make sure to use plenty of ice cubes, and pop a few sprigs of mint in too.
One last thing… in case you’re wondering where the name limonana comes from, it’s a combination of the Hebrew words for lemon and mint – limon (לִימוֹן) and nana (נַענַע).
Want deliciously easy, family-friendly recipes like this one delivered straight to your inbox? Click here to sign up. (Of course, I’ll never pass on your email address to anyone.)
Limonana - Israeli fresh mint lemonade
Zingy and invigorating, this cooling drink will keep you refreshed all summer!
- 1 lemon
- 8-10 fresh mint leaves
- 2 tsp sugar (or to taste)
- 225 ml cold water (1 cup)
- ice cubes
- Sprig of mint to garnish (optional)
Remove the peel and pith from the lemon, and separate the flesh from the membranes. Discard the membranes and any pips, and put the lemon flesh into a blender.
Add the mint and sugar, and pulse a few times until the mint leaves are well chopped. Add the water and pulse again to mix. Taste and add more sugar if necessary.
Put plenty of ice cubes into a tall glass, then pour the lemon-mint-water mixture over. Garnish with the mint sprig and serve at once!