I'm Thirsty. Time for. . . Limonana!

I found this wonderful picture of a tall, cool glass of Limonana, several posts ago.  And it got me thirsty for that wonderful Israeli drink: lemonade with nana, or mint leaves.  There ain't nothin' like it for thirst-quenching during hot, dry (or humid) summer days, whether in Israel or elsewhere.

So here's a recipe for you.  It makes approximately a 2-quart pitcher.  Enjoy!


1 cup lemon juice (fresh squeezed is best, but bottled works)
1 cup sugar
About ¼ cup fresh mint leaves (to taste) + some extra sprigs (optional)
1 or 2 fresh lemons, skins well scrubbed (optional) and then sliced.
Grape juice, cherry juice or Grenadine (optional)

Chop up the ¼ cup of mint leaves and put in small pan with the sugar and 1 cup of the water. Bring to boil. (Alternately, pour one cup of boiling water over the mint leaves, let steep a minute or two, then add the cup of sugar).

Put the mint/sugar mix and the cup of lemon juice in a 2 quart pitcher and add water to fill (you can use some ice as part of the water to cool this down more quickly).

If you are very finicky, you can strain the lemonade after it cools in order to remove the pieces of chopped mint.

At this point you can add the sliced lemon, although one might well save some for garnish when the lemonade is served, perhaps putting one of the sliced lemons in the pitcher and using slices of the second lemon to hang on the rim of each glass.

The extra sprigs of mint are also to be used as garnish.

Chill the lemonade and serve over ice, with garnish.

For Pink Mint Lemonade
Add some Grenadine, grape juice or cherry juice (in which case you can also throw some cherries into the glass as garnish). Other variations include Strawberry Mint Lemonade (sugar strawberries, let sit overnight, throw into the lemonade – remember to count the sugar you used on the strawberries as part of the recipe! – and garnish with fresh sliced strawberry).

For Middle Eastern-style Lemonana
(As served in Tel Aviv, Beirut, Jerusalem and Damascus)
Use HALF the ingredients. Put the sugar/mint mixture (1/2 cup sugar, 2 Tablespoons chopped mint) into a blender. Add the lemon juice (1/2 cup). Add ice to the four cup mark, and some water to fill around the ice up to the four cup mark. Blend until it is slushy. Serve, garnishing only with mint sprigs.

In my case, our blender is milchig (dairy), and we are BBQing and smoking chicken on our grill tonight, so using the blender is out (besides, I'm too lazy).  Instead, I will probably go with the pouring-boiling-water-over-nana-leaves-and-sugar part, because it's...easy.  My mantra for cooking (the little that I do).  Will let you know the outcome, after our Al haAish tonight!

(hat tip DH, for finding this recipe.  We are going to test it out tonight, for our BBQ with friends...)


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