My blender has seen the light of day more in the past two weeks than in the past few months. Blame it on the hot summer days that have inspired me to make refreshing juices almost daily. A watermelon agua fresca was a big hit with family last week but this week I was really craving limonada.
What in Spanish I would call limón (lemon) is what here I would refer to as lime. So technically, I was craving limeade. But to not make matters confusing, I’ll just call it lemonade. The lemonade I love is not the type made by squeezing lemon or lime juice into water and sweetening with sugar. Instead this lemonade is prepared by mixing limes – peel and all – with water and sugar in a blender. The resulting drink is very refreshing and intensely flavored.
I set out to make a pitcher thinking it couldn’t be too hard. I threw in three quartered limes, four cups of water and some agave nectar instead of sugar. The result, unfortunately, was quite bitter and required me to heavily sweeten it until it was drinkable. I probably should have added more water.
The truth is that I hadn’t made lemonade this way in a very long time nor had I made it that often. When I drank it, it was mostly at my grandmother’s house in Colombia or at one of the many restaurants there that sell made-to-order fresh fruit juices. So I called grandma.
It came as no surprise that she had no measurements or ratios to share, but she suspected I skimped on the water. She also warned me to remove any seeds from the limes as they increase the bitterness in the drink. Thankfully I had done that. Research online also led me to learn that blending for too long can increase bitterness. If that’s the case, over-blending could have been partly responsible for a lackluster first attempt.
The next morning I set out to try again. Because this drink uses the whole lime, you have to drink it pretty much immediately or shortly after you prepare it or else it’ll turn bitter. So having drank more limonada over two days than I cared to, I finally arrived at a formula that yielded a lemonade much closer to the drink I grew up loving and a workable method to share.
- 2 limes
- 4 cups (32 oz.) of cold water
- 1/3 cup agave nectar (if you like your lemonade sweet, increase amount)
1. Wash limes well, cut into quarters and remove any seeds.
2. Place quartered limes, water and agave nectar in a blender.
2. Blend for about 5-8 seconds. The liquid will be white.
3. Strain and serve over ice.
Add water if you prefer a less concentrated lime flavor.
A variation suggested by my grandmother calls for sweetening the lemonade with condensed milk. Something to try next time.