Skip To Content

Frosty Limonanna for a Chill Summer Brunch

When the mercury rises, there is nothing more refreshing than a glass of bracingly cold lemonade. Not even iced coffee quite compares. But there is one drink that manages to improve upon perfection: limonanna — a sweet-tart mashup of lemons, sugar and heaps of fresh mint. Variations on the drink are served throughout the Middle East, but the name was coined in an Israeli advertising campaign in the 1990s. It’s a mixture of the Hebrew words for lemon (limon) and mint (nana).

In recent years limonanna has become something of an official drink of Israel, sipped beachside in Tel Aviv or in umbrella-shaded outdoor cafés throughout the country. And like most ubiquitous and iconic dishes, everyone who makes it has his or her own technique. Sometimes the mint is used to infuse a simple syrup, which is then combined with lemon juice and water. Other times, whole fresh mint leaves are blended right into the drink, creating a frothy, bright-green cocktail. A splash of rum or vodka can be added for a boozy twist, and the whole concoction can be whirled together with ice cubes to make a limonanna slushy.

However it is made, limonanna is a perfect hot-weather antidote anytime of day, but I particularly love to serve it alongside savory brunch dishes. It is a natural fit for an Israeli-inspired breakfast like a grilled halloumi and chopped-tomato salad platter, or a plate of za’atar-dusted labneh and pita. But it complements everything from a frittata or lox and bagels to savory cheddar scones.

Before long, and certainly before I’m ready for it, the temperature is bound to dip again. Until then, my blender will be working on overtime.

Slushy Limonanna

Serves 2

½ cup packed mint leaves, plus more for garnish
1/3 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice (from 4 to 6 lemons)
1/3 cup granulated sugar, or more as needed
1/3 cup water
3 cups ice cubes
¼ teaspoon orange blossom water, optional

1) Add the mint leaves, lemon juice, 1/3 cup sugar, water, ice cubes and orange blossom water, if using, to a blender. Process until ice is broken up and mixture is frothy. Taste and add a tablespoon or two additional sugar, if desired; blend again.

2) Divide into two glasses and serve immediately.

Leah Koenig is a contributing editor at the Forward and author of “Modern Jewish Cooking: Recipes & Customs for Today’s Kitchen,” Chronicle Books (2015).

A message from our editor-in-chief Jodi Rudoren

We're building on 127 years of independent journalism to help you develop deeper connections to what it means to be Jewish today.

With so much at stake for the Jewish people right now — war, rising antisemitism, a high-stakes U.S. presidential election — American Jews depend on the Forward's perspective, integrity and courage.

—  Jodi Rudoren, Editor-in-Chief 

Join our mission to tell the Jewish story fully and fairly.

Republish This Story

Please read before republishing

We’re happy to make this story available to republish for free, unless it originated with JTA, Haaretz or another publication (as indicated on the article) and as long as you follow our guidelines. You must credit the Forward, retain our pixel and preserve our canonical link in Google search.  See our full guidelines for more information, and this guide for detail about canonical URLs.

To republish, copy the HTML by clicking on the yellow button to the right; it includes our tracking pixel, all paragraph styles and hyperlinks, the author byline and credit to the Forward. It does not include images; to avoid copyright violations, you must add them manually, following our guidelines. Please email us at [email protected], subject line “republish,” with any questions or to let us know what stories you’re picking up.

We don't support Internet Explorer

Please use Chrome, Safari, Firefox, or Edge to view this site.