Fourth of July

The Israeli Summer, aka Sparkling Limonana

May 28, 2011
4 Ratings
  • Serves 1
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

Test Kitchen Notes

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! - Panfusine —Panfusine

What You'll Need
  • Mint Simple Syrup
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 cup sugar
  • cups roughly torn or chopped mint
  • The Israeli Summer, aka Sparkling Limonana
  • 3 ounces freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • ounces mint simple syrup
  • Seltzer
  • Fresh mint leaves, for garnish
  1. Mint Simple Syrup
  2. Combine the water and sugar in a small pot and simmer until the sugar is fully dissolved, stirring frequently.
  3. 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.
  1. The Israeli Summer, aka Sparkling Limonana
  2. 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.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • JKazzaz
  • Melisa
  • Panfusine
  • kristina.j.walton
  • Table9
A native New Yorker, I recently moved to Be'er Sheva, Israel with my husband while he completes medical school. I am a freelance food and travel writer and photographer who is always hungry and reads cookbooks in bed.

20 Reviews

MwgF3C8&eDm!6Ad June 13, 2022
Limonana is not an Israeli drink it's Lebanese and it's not supposed to sparkling
Sydney May 4, 2014
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?
Katherine614 May 5, 2014
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!!
Sydney May 5, 2014
Thank you so much!
JKazzaz July 8, 2013
If anyone wants to make this into an hard drink - I recommend adding an ounce of Arak (aka Ouzo, Anise...)
Melisa April 21, 2012
Just made our first limonana of the year from garden mint and lemon balm--delicious as ever!
Panfusine June 16, 2011
Made this for guests visiting from India last weekend and they LOVED it!
kmartinelli June 17, 2011
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!
kristina.j.walton June 13, 2011
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.
kmartinelli June 14, 2011
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 :-)
chichel June 9, 2011
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!
kmartinelli June 10, 2011
I haven't but basil would be just amazing - and basil and grapefruit, yum! Sage and grapefruit makes an amazing combo as well.
Table9 June 3, 2011
What a beautiful photo and recipe!
kmartinelli June 4, 2011
Thanks Table9! :-)
Sagegreen June 1, 2011
Great photo, too!
kmartinelli June 2, 2011
Aw thanks Sagegreen! I'm loving your strawberry rhubarb cooler!
gingerroot May 31, 2011
Gorgeous photo, k! Sounds delightfully refreshing...will definitely be making one soon.
kmartinelli June 1, 2011
Thanks gingerroot! I hope you enjoy. The mint syrup makes plenty extra, but it's good in so many other drinks too!
BlueKaleRoad May 31, 2011
This was my favorite drink in Israel! If only it would warm up here so we could enjoy cold drinks...hopefully soon.
kmartinelli June 1, 2011
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!