I love sweet mango with tart lime so I created this drink to celebrate the two. I also wanted to add a herbal note so decided to create a simple syrup infused with mint -- mostly because mint makes so much sense with mango and lime but also because I have a huge pot of it outside my porch door. Basil makes a fine substitute, or a combination of basil and mint would be lovely, too. The use of turbinado sugar gives the drink a nice complex sweetness that you don't get with regular white sugar. If you happen to be lucky enough to have a surplus of fresh, ripe mangoes, by all means use them here. Otherwise, a bag of frozen mango, something I always keep on hand, makes a great substitute. —EmilyC
Test Kitchen Notes
This is a very nice beverage that is both refreshing and light. The addition of mint and cardamom gives the limeade a lovely combo of spice and herb on the background of the mango and the lime. Feel free to adjust the mint and cardamom amounts to your liking. I found it was best with 4 cups sparkling water. —Stephanie Bourgeois
1 pound bag frozen mango, thawed, or 3 cups fresh mango, peeled, pitted, and cut into large chunks
1 cup turbinado or raw sugar
1 T grated lime zest + 1/2 cup juice from 4 to 5 limes
10 green cardamom pods, lightly crushed with the back of a knife
1 cup loosely packed mint (basil or a combination of mint/basil can be substituted))
In a bowl of a food processor, combine mango and lime juice and process until smooth, about 1 to 2 minutes. Strain through a fine-mesh sieve into a bowl, pressing down and scraping back and forth with a spatula to extract as much of the mango-lime juice as possible. Also make sure to scrape the underside of the strainer into your bowl -- just make sure you rinse your spatula first! You should have about 2 cups of mango-lime juice. Chill until ready to use.
To make the mint simple syrup, combine the sugar, 1 cup water, lime zest, cardamom pods, and mint in a small saucepan over medium-high heat. Bring to a boil, then lower heat and simmer for about 10 minutes or until a thin syrup forms. Pass the syrup through a strainer into a bowl or measuring cup. You should have about 1 cup of mint simple syrup. Chill until ready to use.
When ready to serve, combine the chilled mango-lime juice and mint simple syrup in a 1.5 quart or larger pitcher. Stir to combine, then add sparkling water. I find about 4 cups to be right, but add more or less to get the dilution you prefer. Pour into glasses filled with lots of ice. Garnish with lime wedges and mint.