When I think of summer, I picture sultry afternoons, dewy skin, and ice-cold bevvy.
I can always, always justify an extra glass of sipper this time of the year. Let’s be honest: it’s seriously sizzling here, and I’m plain powerless against the pull of drinks! So far this season I’ve been grabbing too many fogged up glasses of coolers—from a.m. till p.m.—to soothe the frazzled nerves. Especially drinks that are as perfect for sun-drenched afternoons of secluded bliss in the beach, or sultry nights under the stars with the mind quietly slipping away to faraway places and picture-postcard scenes. Eau, baby.
When it comes to everyone’s favorite summer time sipper, it is tough to beat the beachside classic, lemonade. With the bonanza of fresh fruits and herbs around, you can never have too many variations either. Plus, change is wonderfully new and exciting, right?
This bright green lemonade is inspired by the Refresh Mint drink at Nando’s—our fave order to wash down all the peri-peri deliciousness. Call it frothy mint lemonade, non-alcholic mint mojito, or by its Israeli cousin, limonana (‘nana’ is Hebrew for mint, and ‘limon’ for lemon)—Middle East’s answer to the America’s lemonade. What’s in a name? Especially when each sip is as cooling, soothing, refreshing, and actually tastes of tons of garden fresh mint and lemon, as this one!
Love it or hate it, there’s nothing quite like the cooling, aromatic scent and flavor of mint. Fresh mint is everywhere—in the home garden, at the vegetable market, in the supermarket, and even the small grocery stores dotting the roadsides. This herb has health properties as well as tasting great—it’s a stimulant, also famous for its ability to calm upset stomach, and soothe indigestion, and doubles as an aphrodisiac. Oh boy, limonana not only tastes fab, it is a cure for ailments too.
Fresh and punchy, minty and refreshing with the texture of a slushy, this bevvy is best if you are looking for something sweet to swig. Choose fresh mint leaves, then blend it with ice, simple syrup and lemon lime soda for bubbly—you have the perfect sip for warm, breezy, sultry summer afternoons in the desert. Just make sure to serve the drink before it turns to an unappetizing brown.
It’s unbelievably cool and tasty, try it and let me know what you think.
Limonana—Refreshing Mint Lemonade
Prep 10 min
1 cup sugar
½ cup water
½ cup mint leaves, firmly packed, plus extra sprigs for garnish
¾ cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
2 cups diet Sprite, or club soda
2 ½ cups ice, plus extra for serving
lime wheels, for garnish
Sugar will not easily melt in icy liquid—simple syrup is the solution. In a small saucepan, bring the water and sugar to boil over medium-high heat. Reduce heat and simmer until sugar is completely dissolved and the mixture is clear. Remove from heat and add two sprigs of mint to the hot syrup; allow to steep until the mixture is completely cool. This syrup can be prepared ahead and chilled in the refrigerator until ready for use—just filter out the mint before using.
Put the lemon juice in a blender, add the Sprite or club soda, sugar syrup to taste, ice and the mint leaves, and blend until bright green and slushy. Add a dash of green food color to brighten things up, if you like. Pour into chilled glasses packed with more ice, and garnish with mint sprigs and lime wheels. Serve immediately.
Note: For a slimmed-down version use sparkling water instead of soda.
Afternoon on the porch sipping a glass of green lemonade to cool the sun’s heat is nothing but pure joy—enjoy!
Seriously thirsty? Check out more drinks here.