The Israeli Summer, aka Sparkling Limonana

By • May 28, 2011 • 21 Comments



Author Notes: Limonana is the national drink of Israel. Come summertime (which it is already here - yesterday hit 101F down here in the desert!) this is all anyone drinks. It's also sold year round as soda and juice flavors. Here it is definitely a fountain soda.

Considering how ubiquitous the beverage is in Israel, and how simple and delicious it is, I can't believe it isn't more popular worldwide. It is just sweetened lemonade with mint sprigs, and often it is blended with ice to make a frothy bright green drink. For my version, I use mint simple syrup and add seltzer for a bubbly, possibly even more refreshing, rendition. We have a seltzer maker, but of course store bought seltzer is just fine. For a grown-up version add gin and you'll have one of my favorite cocktails, the Southside.

The mint syrup recipe below makes much more than you need for this one drink, but I love having it in my fridge. It's a great addition to cocktails and other drinks like this limonana. You could also easily halve the syrup recipe. As long as you keep the 1:1 ratio of sugar:water you'll be good. - kmartinelli
kmartinelli

Food52 Review: On a hot summer day, a sip of this sparkling drink is like an answer to ones prayers. The steps detailed in the recipe are meticulous. The mint leaves steeping in the warm simple syrup emit an aroma that fills the kitchen, literally like a cool breath of fresh air. When combined with the freshly squeezed lemon juice and chilled seltzer, the drink is sheer bliss. An instantly cooling flavor of mint permeates the nostrils and marries perfectly with the citrusy tartness of the lemon. I tried it with both lemon and lime and could not decide which was better! - PanfusinePanfusine

Serves 1

Mint Simple Syrup

  • 1 cup water
  • 1 cup sugar
  • cup roughly torn or chopped mint
  1. Combine the water and sugar in a small pot and simmer until the sugar is fully dissolved, stirring frequently.
  2. Remove from the heat and stir in the mint. Allow to steep for about 15 minutes. Remove the mint or strain through a mesh sieve and allow to cool to room temperature. Store in a sealed glass jar or bottle for up to 1 month in the refrigerator.

The Israeli Summer, aka Sparkling Limonana

  • 3 ounces freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • ounce mint simple syrup
  • Seltzer
  • Fresh mint leaves, for garnish
  1. In a glass combine the lemon juice and mint simple syrup. Stir to combine. Top with seltzer (I used a small glass and so used about 1 ounce to top, but you can add more seltzer for an even lighter drink). Garnish with mint leaves and serve immediately.
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Comments (21) Questions (0)

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2 months ago Sydney

Hello! I have a country report to do, and I'm doing mine on Israel. Our next part of the report is on food/drink. I'm doing mine on this drink and if I have a class of 28, how would the recipe vary?

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2 months ago Katherine614

Hi Sydney - how fun! I've never made this for such a large group, but it should be easy to multiply. You can make the same amount of mint simple syrup since it makes more than enough. Then you'll need about 10 cups of lemon juice - which is a lot! I hope you have an electric juicer! Alternately, you can simply add mint leaves to homemade or store-bought lemonade and have a perfectly authentic limonana like they serve everywhere in Israel. Good luck!!

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2 months ago Sydney

Thank you so much!

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about 1 year ago JKazzaz

If anyone wants to make this into an hard drink - I recommend adding an ounce of Arak (aka Ouzo, Anise...)

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about 2 years ago Melisa

Just made our first limonana of the year from garden mint and lemon balm--delicious as ever!

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about 3 years ago Panfusine

Made this for guests visiting from India last weekend and they LOVED it!

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about 3 years ago kmartinelli

Oh that makes me so happy to hear! I am so glad you and your guests enjoyed it and thank you so much for the ep and kind review! It's always good to know your recipes work!

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about 3 years ago kristina.j.walton

Just made this today! I have missed it since my trip to Israel last summer. I have been playing around with the lemon to mint syrup ratio and I think I got it just perfect. I will be making this all summer long especially now that I have a Sodastream.

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about 3 years ago kmartinelli

I am so happy to hear that! The lemon/simple syrup/seltzer ratios are all easily adjusted to suit everyone's tastes. Glad you found a ratio that works for you :-)

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about 3 years ago chichel

So excited about this. I have a soda maker and this is right up my alley. Have you tried it with any other herb? I'm thinking basil would be lovely. Oh, even better, one of these with basil and grapefruit (thinking back to a martini I once had). Love the photo, too. Mouth is watering!

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about 3 years ago kmartinelli

I haven't but basil would be just amazing - and basil and grapefruit, yum! Sage and grapefruit makes an amazing combo as well.

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about 3 years ago Table9

What a beautiful photo and recipe!

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about 3 years ago kmartinelli

Thanks Table9! :-)

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about 3 years ago Sagegreen

Great photo, too!

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about 3 years ago kmartinelli

Aw thanks Sagegreen! I'm loving your strawberry rhubarb cooler!

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about 3 years ago gingerroot

Gorgeous photo, k! Sounds delightfully refreshing...will definitely be making one soon.

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about 3 years ago kmartinelli

Thanks gingerroot! I hope you enjoy. The mint syrup makes plenty extra, but it's good in so many other drinks too!

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about 3 years ago BlueKaleRoad

This was my favorite drink in Israel! If only it would warm up here so we could enjoy cold drinks...hopefully soon.

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about 3 years ago kmartinelli

Awesome! It's all I want to drink these days! And I'm loving my homemade version with seltzer (but I love anything sparkling). Hope it heats up a little for you soon!

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about 3 years ago sdebrango

Suzanne is a trusted source on General Cooking.

So refreshing I love that you added mint simple syrup.

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about 3 years ago kmartinelli

Thanks sdebrango! I was just admiring your Campari float!