Brazilian Lemonade Packs An Unexpectedly Creamy Twist

Lemonade is the de facto summer beverage for a reason: It's tart, it's satisfying, and it goes down easy on a hot day. But a very different kind of lemonade has been trending on the Internet, one that is somehow even more refreshing and irresistible.

Brazilian lemonade (also known as Swiss lemonade) is made by blending whole limes with a can of condensed milk. Yes, you heard that right — limes. As in many countries where Romance languages are spoken, Brazilians use the same word, "limão," for both "lemon" and "lime." And while lemonade is great, limeade has a subtle bitter undertone that really brings your drink to the next level.

Adding condensed milk lends the drink a unique sweetness and a velvety creaminess that harmoniously offset the sharp tartness of the limes. Moreover, this method requires significantly less work and time than preparing a traditional glass of homemade lemonade.

Whole lime-based Brazilian lemonade

Making Brazilian lemonade is easy, because it uses whole limes instead of only lime juice. Lemonade made with whole citrus fruits is far from a new concept, with dozens of recipes online for lemonade made by simply blending entire lemons (after the seeds have been removed, of course). This might seem counterintuitive, as most of the time only the fragrant zest of a lemon and its tart juice are used, with the bitter white pith discarded along the way. But while blending whole lemons or limes with their pith intact will result in a more bitter undertone than you might be used to, it can be easily offset by the sweetness of the condensed milk, or even a pinch of salt.

If condensed milk isn't your thing, or you can't or won't consume dairy, it is easy to make a vegan version of this drink that is just as delicious. Substitute a can of coconut cream and some coconut water for the condensed milk, which will make your lemonade vegan, and give it a lovely tropical coconut flavor.

How to make classic Brazilian lemonade

To make Brazilian lemonade, cut your limes into quarters and toss them in a blender. Cover the lime slices with water and blend until a smooth mixture is formed. If you blend the limes for too long, they will get bitter. The same thing will happen if you leave your lemonade for too long without drinking it. Limes contain enzymes called limonin, which turn bitter when exposed to air.

Strain the blended lime mixture, then add the resulting lime juice back into the blender with a can of condensed milk (or coconut cream) and some ice. Blend again, and voilà! The creamiest lemonade of your life.

Brazilian lemonade also makes a great base for a cocktail. Add rum for a creamy take on a daiquiri, tequila for a better margarita, or gin for a summery version of a gimlet. Experiment with additional flavorings, like adding mint for more of a mojito flavor, or adding a float of berry purée.