Most people are familiar with lemonade, which is technically characterized as any variety of sweetened, lemon flavored beverage. Pink lemonade is made with the addition of fruit such as raspberries or strawberries which add both sweetness and the distinctive pink color. Hard lemonade is an alcoholic version, although the alcohol content in commercially produced hard lemonades tends to be light.
Lemonade can be flat or carbonated and served at varying degrees of sweetness. In the United States, particularly the south, we tend to like this beverage on the sweeter side. Middle Eastern lemonade, however, is much less sweet which also makes it a better choice in the heat.
As popular as lemonade is in the U.S., it's an absolute staple in the Middle Eastern countries, where the climate is hot and dry and where many people do not drink alcohol. It can be found in just about every restaurant and home. Icy cold, not too sweet, lemon drinks are ideal for cooling off. Known as limonana or limonada, the Middle Eastern version contains a couple of additional ingredients. Just a touch of orange blossom water and plenty of fresh mint gives limonana a great boost of flavor.
You can make a big batch to store in the refrigerator for the week or make the popular frozen slushy form of the drink by adding ice to the blender. If you do choose the slushy version, you might want to increase the amount of lemon juice because the ice will dampen some of the flavor. Try experimenting with different amounts until you find the perfect balance for your frozen lemonade taste.
So, the next time there's a hot day and you're searching for a new twist on a cold, refreshing beverage, try this version of minty lemonade. Of course, we won't tell if you sneak some vodka into your glass.
Add the cold water, fresh lemon juice, orange blossom water and mint. Blend until smooth.
Pour into glasses filled with crushed ice and serve, or keep in the refrigerator until ready to serve.
For a frozen, slushy version of this lemonade, add a cup of ice to the blender with the other ingredients and blend until slushy. Serve immediately and garnish with slices of lemon and a sprigs of mint, if desired.
- Instead of using lemons, you can use the juice of 20 limes.
- You can also add more or less sugar to taste, but remember that Middle Eastern lemonade is not supposed to be sweet.