If you’ve never tried limonana, you’re missing out on an amazing drink! The traditional thirst-quencher is made by mixing lemonade with lots of fresh mint and ice – for a refreshing summer treat.
But you know me – I can never just do classic. OK, maybe I can – but I still love putting my own twist on things. That’s how my strawberry limonana happened.
This year, I decided to try using my new herb obsession – basil! I’m putting it in salads, stuffing it into sandwiches, and now, even drinks! Strawberry-basil is a classic combination, but it works amazing with cherries too!
I love the idea of adding fresh fruit to my lemonade, but if you’re not fond of having bits of cherries in your drink – check out my variation for an infused version instead!
Cherry Basil Limonana
1/2 c lemon juice
1/4 c maple syrup
15 basil leaves
1 heaping cup pitted fresh cherries (about 20)
1 c water
2-3 cups ice
Add all ingredients to a blender and blend until slushy.
VARIATION: If you don’t like having the pieces of cherries in this smoothie/slush hybrid, you can boil the cherries with maple syrup and water until the cherries are soft. Puree the mixture in the blender with basil leaves and pour through a strainer. Blend the cherry-basil infused syrup with the lemon juice and ice.
Limonana is a frozen minty lemonade that is popular in Israel. With tart lemons, sweet sugar syrup and fresh mint, it’s the perfect icy drink for a hot and humid day. I had to put my own twist on it, so I included frozen strawberries, for added color and delicious berry flavor.
When I had first planned on writing this post, it was supposed to be about all things summer. About the sticky, humid weather here in Brooklyn, and how to beat the heat on these unbearable days. I had plans to woo you with coffee ice cubes and frozen grapes. But all that changed.
Yesterday, I went to see Jamie Geller off to Israel at a goodbye party sponsored by Nefesh B’Nefesh. Jamie, if you don’t already know, is the author of the Quick & Kosher cookbooks, as well as the face behind Joy of Kosher. She is making aliya with her family, and chronicling her journey in a series of webisodes, titled “Joy of Aliyah”. The first two episodes have covered Jamie’s announcement, and “The Lift”. Joy of Aliya is real and raw, taking you along for the ride through the milestones of the aliya process.
I was speaking to Jamie about her move, and how lucky she is to be able to live in the holy land of Israel. I told her about the year I spent in seminary, over 10 years ago, and how it changed my life forever. She encouraged me to take a Nefesh B’Nefesh pamphlet, but I declined. “I don’t need one”, I said, “It’s already in here,” pointing to my heart.
After leaving the BBQ, I was feeling really nostalgic (or should I say, homesick?). so I went to my basement, and dug up my old seminary albums (yes, I admit, I grew up in the pre-digital age). I thought it might be a good idea to capture my experience by posting some pictures on my blog. As I turned each page, the photos pulled at my heartstrings and I felt that deep yearning to return. There is no other place on earth where I have felt such inner peace and a sense of being complete. In Israel, I don’t need to hike Masada, or drive an ATV through the galilee, I need only to walk along the holy city streets to feel as though I’m right where I’m supposed to be. I am sure it is because Israel is the place for which it states, “Eretz Asher Tomid Enei Hashem Elokecha Ba Meireishit Hashana Ad Acharit Hashana“, “Israel is the land for which the eyes of G-d are always upon it, from the beginning of the year, until the end of the year.” The holiness of the land is so palpable, you can feel it with every step (there’s a reason they call it “The Holy Land!”).
As I looked through my pictures, I realized, there isn’t a single one that I could share that would convey to you my heartfelt love for Eretz Yisroel or what it means to me. It’s the feeling of being home, of being where I belong. It’s more than any pictures can show or any words can convey. It’s a soul-thing. And Jamie, it’s still right in here, stronger than ever. Maybe, just maybe, we will meet again soon, in Jerusalem!
Come to think of it, if I did move to Israel, what would my blog be called? Would it be Busy in Beitar, or Busy in Bayit Vegan, or Busy in Beit Shemesh? Oh gosh, so many choices, where would I move? I think I might need that pamphlet after all.
Read about my return to Israel after 10 long years, here (bonus, beautiful pics!).
1 cup water
1 cup sugar
1 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
15 mint leaves, or according to taste
2 cups frozen strawberries
3 cups ice
mint leaves, for garnish
Bring water and sugar to a boil, stirring until the sugar is completely dissolved. Set aside to cool. Once cooled, add the mixture to a blender with lemon juice, mint leaves, strawberries and ice. Blend until ice is crushed into a slushy consistency. Garnish with mint leaves.