Sunny Days and Mint Lemonade

I’ve always found it hard to resist the allure of a welcoming beach. Having spent most of my life in Montreal, Canada – I would often escape the polar vortex of the cold months with quick trips to the South. Since Florida and the Carribbean were a just short flight away, they were my target destinations whenever I had a case of the winter blues.

Things have definitely changed for me since moving to Dubai, and one of the many perks of living here is the warm weather. With its crystal clear waters, and warm, soft sand, Dubai definitely has it going on as a beach destination.

With the Arabian Gulf almost at my doorstep, it takes only a few minutes to pack up my kids for some fun in the sun. From slathering on sunscreen to putting on our flip flops, we’ll be heading to the beach most weekends until the temperatures climb so high that our feet can barely touch the scorching hot sand!

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In the meantime, I’ll be knocking back some of this mint lemonade I had at a little girls’ birthday just the other day.  I had forgotten how much I love this drink, something my mother-in-law used to make when I was living in Montreal. Since I also happened to stumble upon some uber-juicy lemons at the market, making a jug of this sweet and tart conconction made perfect sense.

Great for cooling off on those hot summer days when all you crave is something light and refreshing, this drink will last for a couple of days in the refrigerator. Take it one step further by pouring it into popsicle molds, popping it into the freezer, and voilà, you’ve got yourself some fabulous lemon ice lollies.

If you have access to lemongrass, steep it in the sugar syrup while it’s boiling. This is by no means a deal-breaker for this drink (it’s just as good without it), but it does add some concentrated lemon flavor if that’s what you’re after.

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Mint Lemonade

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup sugar
  • 3 and ½ cups water
  • 2 stalks lemongrass (optional), lightly bruised with a back of a knife and cut in half lengthwise – use the yellow and light green parts only
  • 1 cup of freshly squeezed lemon juice (from about 3 large or 6 small lemons), strained
  • ¼ to ½ cup mint leaves, cut in chiffonade or roughy torn
  • Extra mint leaves and sliced lemon for garnish
  • Ice cubes or crushed ice

Directions:

Combine sugar, one cup water, and lemongrass (if using) in a saucepan. Bring to a boil to make a syrup, stirring occasionally until all the sugar has dissolved. Let cool to room temperature.  Strain to remove the lemongrass.

Add the sugar syrup, lemon juice, and the remaining 2 and ½ cups of water in a jug. Stir to combine. Refrigerate until cold.

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When ready to serve, add a slice of lemon, some of the mint, and a handful of ice cubes to large glasses. Divide the lemonade among the glasses, add extra mint and lemon slices to garnish.

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Enjoy the lemony, thirst-quenching goodness!

Easy, peasy, lemon-squeezy!

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