Turkish Lemonade or Limonata Recipe

Glasses of lemonade with mint sprigs
Hayley Harrison / Getty Images
  • 30 mins
  • Prep: 30 mins,
  • Cook: 0 mins
  • Yield: 4 servings
Ratings (15)

Did you ever hear of lemonade that wasn't sour? Take a sip of Turkish lemonade and you'll be surprised at its refreshing lemon taste without the sourness.

How is it done? The lemon rinds and sugar are either rubbed together or cooked before they are mixed with the lemon juice. This leaves you with a smooth, sweet lemonade minus the bite.

Lemonade is very traditional and found just about everywhere. It's often preferred over colas and other carbonated soft drinks, especially for kids.

I got this recipe for cooked lemonade from a vendor in the old city district of Istanbul who's been selling lemonade for 45 years. He said he got the recipe from his mother. Try it in your own home for a new, smooth twist on lemonade.

What You'll Need

  • 6 lemons
  • 4 1/4 cups (1 liter) water
  • 1.5 cups sugar, more or less to taste
  • Mint leaves (optional)

How to Make It

  1. Peel the lemons and grate the rinds. Put the grated rinds in a saucepan with the water and sugar.
  2. Squeeze the peeled lemons and put the juice together with the leftover pieces in a glass bowl and set aside.
  3. Bring the mixture in the saucepan to a boil and stir until the sugar is dissolved.
  4. Reduce the heat and continue to boil gently for 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and let it cool down.
  5. While the mixture is still warm, add it to the ingredients in the glass bowl. Add your optional mint leaves.
  1. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate for several hours or overnight.
  2. Remove the bowl from the fridge and strain the mixture using a fine mesh wire strainer.
  3. Press down the ingredients to get out as much liquid as possible, then discard them.
  4. Secure a piece of cheesecloth over the mouth of a bowl or the pitcher you plan to use with a rubber band (if you're not alone, get someone to hold it for you).
  5. Perform a second, fine straining by pouring the liquid slowly over the cheesecloth and letting it drip down. This second straining is essential to get the desired transparency and smoothness.
  6. Adjust the amounts of sugar and water to your taste, if needed.
  7. Serve your lemonade over ice and garnish with lemon slices and mint sprigs.