Limonana – Frozen Mint Lemonade

Summer officially began yesterday, and I am feeling the new season in every fiber of my being. The weather is getting warmer, days are getting lazier, meals are migrating outdoors, and grills are firing up around the country. At this time of year, my family yearns for Israel. We try to make a trip there every year, usually in the warmer months. It’s a magical place. We stay in Tel Aviv, making day trips to places like Jerusalem, Haifa and Galilee.

One of our first stops is always Caesarea, an ancient Roman port city built by Herod the Great. There you can walk among the ruins of a pagan city named for the Roman emperor Caesar Augustus. It’s built on top of the ruins of Straton’s Tower (Stratonospyrgos), an agricultural storehouse and Jewish city that was central to the Hasmonean Kingdom’s shipbuilding industry. In 63 BCE, when Herod took over, he oversaw the construction of a harbor, roads, baths, temples, markets, and a large arena. The city became central to Roman life in the area, regularly hosting events like gladiator games, chariot races, and theatrical productions. Today, the structures of the city Herod built are still largely intact. You can view the baths, walk in the arena, see the sculptures, and imagine what it was like to live there in Roman times.

When you’re done exploring Caesarea, you can stop at one of the seaside cafes along the shoreline. We like to sit and order a meal, taking in the ocean air and atmosphere. It is really something to dine in the middle of an ancient city. Our tradition is to order limonana, the national drink of Israel. Limonana is lemonade blended together with mint and ice to make a frozen slush. It is so refreshing, the perfect treat for a hot, humid Israeli afternoon.

When the weather is hot here in Los Angeles, I blend up a batch of limonana. My recipe appears below. You can easily make it diet or diabetic friendly by using a low glycemic sweetener (suggestions appear at the end of the recipe). If you’re feeling naughty, you could also add a splash of citrus-infused vodka to the mix. We like to pour our limonana into glasses garnished with mint. Then we sit in the back yard, sip on our drinks, and dream of dining in the middle of an ancient city on the shores of the Mediterranean…

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Limonana - Frozen Mint Lemonade


  • 1/2 cup sugar (or more to taste)
  • 1 3/4 cups water (divided)
  • 1 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 3 1/2 cups ice
  • 1 cup fresh mint leaves
  • 6 mint sprigs for garnish (optional)
Servings: 4
Kosher Key: Pareve
  • In a small saucepan, combine 1 cup of water and sugar. Heat over medium, whisking constantly, till the sugar dissolves. Let the water cool to room temperature.
  • In a blender, combine the sugar water, fresh lemon juice, ice, fresh mint leaves and 3/4 cup of water.
  • Pulse for a few seconds, then blend for 1 minute till the ice is thoroughly crushed and the drink takes on the texture of a thick slushy. Taste. This recipe produces a mildly sweet limonana, which is the way I like it. Some people like it sweeter. Add sugar to taste, if desired, and blend again.
  • Pour into cold glasses and serve. Garnish with sprigs of mint, if desired.
  • Note: If you're on a low sugar diet or watching your weight, you can also make this drink with Splenda, stevia, agave, or your favorite low glycemic sweetener. Rather than making the sugar water, add a cup of unsweetened water to the blender (2 cups of water total) and blend the drink without sugar. Add your sweetener of choice to taste, blend again, and serve.

Comments (15)Post a Comment

  1. Very good - 4 starsVery good - 4 starsVery good - 4 starsVery good - 4 starsVery good - 4 stars
    I wish I could take out that last picture straight out of the screen, thank you for this recipe, a great idea on a hot day.

  2. Love lemonade, and since my garden has lots of mint, I’d love to make this. Approx. how many lemons do I need for the yield of 1 cup of juice?

    1. Hey Alice! It really depends on the size of the lemons, but I would say 4-5 large lemons should do it. If the lemons are smaller you may need up to 8.

    1. So glad you liked it Jonathan! And yes, I did mention vodka as an option in the last part of the blog, “if you’re feeling naughty.” 😉 I particularly like it with a splash of citrus vodka. Delish!

    2. The original recipe is so tantalizing as it is my sister and that was kosher with me; now I’ve got to admit that the citrus vodka takes it to another level. Oh-so kosher. I’m going to remember to try it!

  3. Shiksa – Thank you for posting sugar substitution quantity. Using an artificial sweetener would be the only way my husband could have this drink. Thus far, you are the only one to do this. G

    1. You’re welcome G! I’m trying to post more low-sugar or sugar-free modifications for those who are diabetic or dieting. You’ll definitely like the Splenda version of this drink, I’ve made it for a friend who is on a low glycemic diet and she really enjoyed it!

  4. I don’t have a blender right now but if I did, oh my. My kids and I would love these. I saved the recipe. I would like to visit all the places you mentioned and showed. Beautiful!

  5. I used limes instead of lemons and unintentionally made it sweeter (just dumped in some pre-made sugar syrup I had on hand, without really checking the proportions). At the end, I added seltzer! It was delish. Thanks for posting!

  6. Very good - 4 starsVery good - 4 starsVery good - 4 starsVery good - 4 starsVery good - 4 stars
    Thank you for this great recipe. So refreshing and tasty! The amount of sugar was perfect for me as I don’t like anything too sweet either. Looking forward to trying it with some vodka :)

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