What Is Brazilian Lemonade, Anyway?

Brazilian lemonade with straws
Brazilian lemonade with straws - Julie208/Shutterstock

When you're searching for a refreshing summer drink to cool off with, one of the first things that comes to mind for many is a glass of ice-cold, classic lemonade. Finding a recipe with the perfect balance of tart acidity and sweetness is a work of flavor magic. That said, out of all the things you should be adding to your lemonade, the creamy addition of condensed milk is a real game-changer. Condensed milk is the star ingredient featured in Brazilian lemonade, which you may be familiar with already if you've dined at a Brazilian restaurant. Blending a small can of condensed milk into the drink adds a pleasant layer of richness to the tasting experience without giving the finished product a heavy, milkshake-like consistency.

Maybe you're someone who frequents the Chick-fil-A drive-thru to grab an ice cream-infused Frosted Lemonade, or perhaps you prefer to follow a copycat lemonade recipe at home. Either way, Brazilian lemonade is something to put on your culinary radar; you can enjoy it without declaring it a dessert. This beverage can even be upgraded to a boozy version with a splash of liquor like rum.

Please note: There is one important distinction to make with this South American specialty that can be a bit confusing at first. Given its title, you would probably think lemons would be involved somewhere, but Brazilian lemonade relies on limes for its signature sharp taste instead.

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Why Brazilian Lemonade Uses Limes

Person shopping for limes
Person shopping for limes - Andresr/Getty Images

First, it's important to know that Brazilian lemonade goes by many names. Locals call it limonada Suíça, which means "Swiss lemonade." This name is inspired by one of the Swiss-founded Nestlé company's staple products, condensed milk. In Portuguese, the word limão is used interchangeably for limes and lemons. This makes sense, considering Brazil was once one of the world's top producers of limes alongside Mexico.

So, why limes over lemons? Freshly squeezed limes lend a bold citrus zing to Brazilian lemonade as lemons in regular recipes, but limes have a slightly less sweet, slightly more tart flavor. Figuring out how long to pulse limes in the blender to create this drink is a delicate balance, as too long will result in a bitter mixture. Stick to about 20 seconds to be safe. Also, peeling every lime you toss in can be tedious, so most people chuck them in with the rinds and filter the juice through a strainer. However, before making this choice, check the label on the lime packaging to determine whether the fruit has a wax coating. If there is wax, there's no need to buy better limes; it's easy to remove by scrubbing the layer off with dish soap.

After the water, sugar, condensed milk, and limes are blended, the drink is best enjoyed with ice and a wedge of lime teetering off the rim. If you're a lemonade lover, give this one a try!

Read the original article on Mashed.