Limonana (Middle Eastern Frozen Mint Lemonade)

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Limonana (Middle Eastern Frozen Mint Lemonade)

It’s October. It may or may not be snowing profusely where you are. (Although I’m not there now, where I come from, it more than likely is snowing profusely!)

I realize that.

So what am I doing posting a frozen beverage?

Try as I might to simulate autumn in my apartment here in Kuwait with chilly AC, apple cinnamon-scented candles, and pumpkin spice lattes, the truth remains that temps are still in the 90s in the afternoon. I occasionally need a little cool-me-down, and this is the most refreshing beverage, pretty much ever.

Limonana (Middle Eastern Frozen Mint Lemonade) 2

This drink is a classic favorite throughout the Middle East where refreshing beverages are an absolute necessity. It looks impressive, but is actually so easy to make…it’s really no harder than regular lemonade, although there is an additional step of blending the lemonade with ice. Although it’s super simple to make, there is a trick to it; the key to the perfect Limonana is in the ratio of lemon to sugar to water. Part of what makes this drink so refreshing is the fact that it’s served frozen, so in order to not be watered down, you need to start with a very concentrated lemonade. I played with the ratio and I think the recipe below is perfect: both sweet and tart, as lemonade should be, and not watered down at all, even as the slushie drink melts.

Just a heads-up, this drink will separate as the icy slush rises to the top of the liquid. Not in a gross way though, and its flavor is not affected…it’s sort of like how ice cubes rise to the top of a drink.

If you’re in a part of the world where it’s still hot or if you’re enjoying fall but you get a random hot day, give this a try! It will be an instant hit.

I made this lemony treat in honor of Liz (The Lemon Bowl) who will be welcoming a baby boy into her family! (Hugs and kisses and huge congrats to you, Liz!) Also, a big thank-you to Rachel (Rachel Cooks), Kristen (Dine & Dish), and Sheila (Eat2Gather) for organizing this event!

Here are the other fabulous bloggers participating in the virtual shower, along with what they’re making…




Main Dishes


Limonana (Middle Eastern Frozen Mint Lemonade) 3

Limonana (Middle Eastern Frozen Mint Lemonade)
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Yield: 2 servings
  • 6 tablespoons (115 g) sugar
  • ½ cup (120 ml) plus 6 tablespoons (90 ml) water, divided
  • ½ cup (120 ml) fresh lemon juice
  • 4 stems worth of mint leaves (about 40 leaves, which is about 2 g) with the stems discarded, plus a few extra sprigs for garnish if desired
  • 18-20 ice cubes
  • 1-2 drops orange blossom water (optional)
  1. Add the sugar and 6 tablespoons of water to a small saucepan; heat over medium heat, stirring constantly, until the sugar is dissolved. Cool to room temperature.
  2. Add the cooled sugar syrup, remaining ½ cup water, lemon juice, mint leaves, ice cubes, and orange blossom water (if using) to a blender. Pulse a few times to break up the ice and then process until slushy.
  3. Pour into 2 tall glasses, garnish with mint leaves if desired, and serve immediately.

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  1. says

    Beautiful. This limonana speaks directly to my citrus loving palate – what a brilliant twist on traditional lemonade!

    When the cold winds first make their appearance, I’d give anything to be someplace warm, whilst at the same time I know I would miss the changing of the seasons. Still, I’m not ready to unfurl the electric blanket(s). :D

  2. Khadijah says

    Thanks for this recipe. My husband loves to order this drink when we go out here in Saudi. This will be so much cheaper.
    Eid Mubarak!

  3. John says

    I was intrigued by the drink when a friend mentioned it on return from Saudi Arabia. Found this recipe. First glance was wow 40 leaves of mint. I have to assume I did something wrong as from reading its supposed to be lemony however tasted like I was eating mint leaves. Am I missing something with the “40” leaves?

    • says

      John, I know 40 mint leaves sounds like a lot of mint, but the total weight of mint leaves is about 2 g (I have added this info to the recipe above), so it really isn’t as much mint as you might think it is when you see 40 leaves. Yes, this drink should taste lemony (which it does; it has the same sweet/tart flavor as lemonade), but the flavor of mint is also integral. (In Arabic, the name of this drink comes from lemon (limon) and mint (nana).) Every time I’ve ever had this particular drink in the Middle East (which is fairly often as my husband and I live in Kuwait and have also lived in Syria and Jordan), this drink is always green from mint and the flavor of mint is always prevalent right along with the sweet/tart flavor of lemonade.

  4. says

    I went for supper at the Humus Kitchen on 9th avenue in New York last weekend. I ordered a limonana because i never had one before, it was so good, can’t wait to try the recipe.


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