Some things in life seem to always stand the test of time, like a good pair of worn-out Converse high tops or your grandma’s Le Creuset Dutch oven. In that same vein, lemonade stands never seem to go out of fashion. Every summer, neighborhood kiddos get to work prepping gallons of refreshing beverages (new moment of ’90s nostalgia unlocked), hoping to cash in some big bucks.
But as much as we may love sipping on “homemade” pink lemonade (that more than likely came from a mini barrel-shaped plastic container), may we suggest something slightly more stellar? Yep, we’re talking about Brazilian-inspired lemonade made with limes, not lemons (gasp!) that’s been gracing our social media feeds since the start of summer.
Although the drink is far from new—it’s been a sweet beverage staple in Brazil for ages—folks all around the world are catching onto the refreshment factor and demanding more of it. Learn how to make this simple two-ingredient delicious drink so you can have it on tap come lemonade stand season. Seriously: Watch the quarters flow.
What is Brazilian lemonade?
In Brazil, this refreshing drink is called limonada suíça, which is Portuguese for Swiss lemonade. And although this beverage doesn’t have Swiss roots, some say it’s been dubbed after the country due to the addition of condensed milk (which was originally imported to Brazil from Europe). Meanwhile, others attribute the name to the original creator, who may have had Swiss ties. While both theories are still up for debate, one thing’s for certain: Folks love drinking this drink.
There’s little not to love about Brazilian lemonade. It’s a simple combination of lime (peel included), ice cubes, water, and sweetened condensed milk that comes together to make a sweet, tangy, and tart drink that’s arguably better than storebought plain ol’ lemonade. Swoon.
Of course, this isn’t the only lime-forward drink Brazilians pride themselves on. Another wildly popular staple is the caipirinha, Brazil’s national drink that’s made with cachaça (a spirit made from fermented sugarcane juice), sugar, and lime. Think mojito vibes. Either way, mocktail or cocktail, it’s safe to say that lime might just be the new lemon in lemonade.
@carolinagelen delicious brazilian lemonade aka swiss lemonade #lemonade #recipe ♬ Sunday – HNNY
How to make Brazilian lemonade
A recent TikTok video (that’s garnered over six million views in the last month) by recipe developer Carolina Gelen was what initially brought this Brazilian drink into the limelight (pun intended) on social media. Since then, folks have been recreating the drink at home with tons of positive feedback, including proud Brazilians sharing their personal ties to the drink, with comments along the lines of “growing up in Brazil, this was always the best afternoon treat.”
To make it, Gelen starts by slicing five cleaned limes into quarters and adding them to a blender. Then, she adds enough water to cover the lime wedges and blends them together. Pro tip: Gelen cautions against over-blending it, which can result in bitterness from over-extracting the naringin, a flavonoid found in the peel, pith, and membranes of limes that can impart a bitter flavor. That said, to share the two sides of the same coin, research shows that naringin has strong anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. So, a little extra blending might not be so bad after all.
Moving on. Once the mixture is blended, Gelen strains it using a fine-mesh sieve to remove the lime peels. In the empty blender, she adds the lime water, a can of sweetened condensed milk, and a quart container’s worth of ice cubes. Gelen blends the mixture until completely smooth and milky. The result is a super-hydrating, tangy, and sweet beverage packed with potassium, folate, calcium, thiamin, niacin, and vitamin B6, in addition to vitamin C (to name a few lime benefits).
That said, although the drink tastes great according to Gelen’s recipe, some folks have offered their own suggestions. According to TikTok user @nickbeliz21, they say “I’m Brazilian, and my dad used to do that at home a lot, to better results take the skin off.” Other folks claim that using only a little zest along with peeled limes is undoubtedly the way to go. Meanwhile, some have swapped out the sweetened condensed milk with sweetened coconut condensed milk for a delicious vegan version.
All to say: When life gives you lemons, consider using limes to make Brazilian lemonade instead.
Learn how to make zero-waste lemon popsicles just in time for summer: