This Lebanese lemonade, also known as Batrouni lemonade, is hands down the best lemonade you will ever have. This recipe follows the traditional method of macerating the lemons instead of juicing them, which results in the most flavorful lemonade. And to make it even better, a splash of orange blossom water and rose water give it a subtle floral note that makes it irresistible!
Lemonade is a very popular non-alcoholic drink in Lebanon. You'll find it at almost any cafe or restaurant there, and you'll often have the option to order a mint lemonade which is absolutely divine.
In Arabic, we call lemonade "laimounada". It sounds similar to limonada in Spanish, but laimoun is lemon in Arabic.
Today I'm sharing with you the traditional way lemonade is made in Batroun, Lebanon. Batroun is a beautiful coastal city in northern Lebanon and is one of the oldest cities in the world. They are famous for their delicious lemonade, referred to as Batrouni lemonade, and you can't visit Batroun without trying it!
Fun fact: the largest cup of lemonade, containing more than 5,500 liters of lemonade, was created in Batroun and won the Guinness World Record in 2012. And get this, all the lemons were squeezed by hand! They take their lemonade seriously! If you want to see a photo of it, check out this post.
For another iconic Lebanese drink that is a little more indulgent, you don't want to miss my Lebanese avocado and strawberry cocktail. It is to die for.
- Fresh lemons: Since we will be using the entire lemon, I recommend buying organic lemons.
- Orange blossom water: It is traditional in Lebanese lemonade and adds a subtle yet beautiful floral flavor.
- Rose water: This is optional but also very delicious if you enjoy floral notes.
Prepare The Lemons
Start by washing your lemons well since we will use the whole lemon. Roll the lemons on a hard surface until they feel softer, as this will help them release more juice. The lemons should be very squishy if you rolled them enough.
Then cut all the lemons into thin slices or quarters and set them aside. Don't worry about the seeds. Measure out the sugar and set it aside.
How To Make Lebanese Lemonade
Grab a large bowl, sprinkle some sugar on the bottom, place the lemon slices in a single layer to cover the bottom of the bowl, then sprinkle some sugar all over the lemon slices.
Continue adding layers of lemon slices and covering them with sugar, until you've used up all your lemon slices and sugar.
If you choose to quarter your lemons, you can simply dump all the sugar on top and mix them well until fully coated with sugar.
Using a muddler, masher, or even a wooden spoon, press down on the lemons to squeeze some of their juices out and gently stir them to mix the sugar with the lemon juice.
Set the bowl aside for at least 30 minutes or ideally up to a 24 hours in the fridge. Occasionally, mash the lemons and stir the released juices with the sugar.
Eventually, the sugar will completely dissolve and you will be left with a concentrated lemony syrup. Strain the lemon syrup and squeeze any remaining juice from the lemons using a citrus squeezer, your hands, or by pressing them against the strainer.
You should be left with about two cups of lemonade concentrate. This is only lemon juice and sugar, no water yet!
The strained lemons are still packed with flavor, so I like to place them back in the bowl, add water to them, and give them another quick mash and stir. The water will turn into a lighter lemonade.
Strain the lemons again and add the new liquid to the original lemonade concentrate. At this point you can discard the spent lemons.
You can skip this step and add plain water to the concentrate, but this additional step packs in a lot more flavor and I highly recommend it. You can see in the photo how the water turned yellow. It even tasted like lemonade so it would be a waste to skip this step in my opinion.
By now you should have a little over 4 cups of very strong lemonade, from mixing the two cups of lemon syrup with the two cups of water that you mashed the spent lemons with.
You have two options here: either store the concentrated lemonade as is in the fridge and make individual servings whenever needed, or use it all now to make a big pitcher of Lebanese lemonade.
If you're not sure how much orange blossom water or rose water you would enjoy, or if anyone in your family doesn't like it, I recommend storing the lemonade concentrate in the fridge and customizing each glass of lemonade to your (and your family's) preference.
To make one glass of lemonade, fill a glass with ice and add half a cup of the lemonade concentrate. Then add as much water as you like to achieve the flavor, sweetness, and tartness you prefer. I recommend starting with a quarter cup of water, then taste it and add more as needed.
Finally, add the orange blossom water and rose water. Start with a quarter teaspoon of orange blossom water and a splash of rose water, then add more if you like. For a traditional Lebanese lemonade, add more orange blossom water than rose water. Be careful not to add too much as it can get very overpowering and bitter.
To make a pitcher of Lebanese lemonade, fill a pitcher with lots of ice, then add in all of your lemonade concentrate, about 4 cups. To that, add 2 cups of cold water. Stir, give it a taste, and water it down as needed.
Then stir in the orange blossom water and rose water. Start with one tablespoon of orange blossom water and half a tablespoon of rose water. Give it a taste and add more if you wish, being careful not to go overboard.
Stir it all together and give it a final taste. And that's it! Enjoy the very best Lebanese lemonade at home! It's tangy, sweet, floral, and beyond refreshing!
Now if you want to elevate it even further, this Lebanese lemonade makes the perfect base for Lebanese mint lemonade. Stay tuned!
Substitutions and Variations
This recipe is naturally vegan, dairy-free, and gluten-free.
- Sugar: Granulated sugar is best for traditional Lebanese lemonade in order to macerate the lemons. I have not tested this recipe with other sweeteners, but if you prefer natural sweeteners, try using ones that are granulated and not liquid.
- Orange blossom water and rose water: You can find them at any Middle Eastern store or even online (linked in the recipe). If you don't have access to them, you can completely omit them and you'll still have a delicious Lebanese lemonade.
- Orange juice: For a little more sweetness and delicious flavor, add the juice of one large orange to the lemonade.
- Sparkling lemonade: Instead of regular water, add sparkling water for a fun twist.
- Spike it: make it even more fun with a little bit of gin or vodka.
Tips To Make The Best Lebanese Lemonade
- Use fresh, organic lemons. You'll need the best, juiciest lemons in order to make the best lemonade. Find a friend that has a lemon tree and ask them for some!
- Add lemon zest. If you love a bright pop of flavor, add some fresh lemon zest to the lemonade. Alternatively, cut a whole lemon into quarters or smaller, remove the seeds, and add it to a high speed blender with the lemonade.
- Make it to your taste. Some people like a tangier lemonade while others like it sweeter. My recipe has the ratio that we enjoy the most, but feel free to adjust it to your liking! Water it down, add more sugar, use only orange blossom water and not rose water, whatever works for you!
Frequently Asked Questions
Yes you can, but the flavor won't be the same. If you are short on time and want to make it quick, use the same exact measurements in this recipe but juice the lemons instead using a citrus juicer. To help the sugar dissolve quicker, stir it into warm water and then add it to the lemon juice and proceed with the recipe.
Unlike common lemonades, traditional Lebanese lemonade is a lot more flavorful because the process of macerating the whole lemon releases the oils from the rind and packs it with delicious flavor. Also, the addition of orange blossom water to lemonade is very traditional in Lebanon.
Absolutely! Meyer lemons are sweeter and less acidic than Lisbon and Eureka lemons, which are the types of lemons most commonly found at the grocery store. Meyer lemons are even a little floral and lend themselves beautifully to this lemonade. You may need to use less sugar if using Meyer lemons. And if you like a bright pop of acidity, consider throwing in a couple regular lemons along with their zest.
Remember, this recipe is more of a guideline to teach you the method of making Lebanese lemonade. But ultimately, the ratio is up to you! If it's too strong for you, water it down. If it's too tart, dissolve more sugar into it. If you don't like floral flavors, skip them! Everyone likes their lemonade a little different, so play around with it and see what you enjoy most!
See My Latest Recipes For More Delicious Ideas
- Lebanese 7 Spice
- Chickpea Fatteh (Fattet Hummus)
- Balila (Lebanese Chickpeas)
- Hummus with Spiced Meat and Pine Nuts
- Authentic Homemade Hummus
If you’ve tried making this authentic Lebanese Lemonade or any other recipe on Forks & Foliage, then please don't forget to rate the recipe and leave a comment below! I would be so happy to hear how it turned out for you. And if you took any photos or videos, please share them with me on Instagram @forksandfoliage so I can see the deliciousness you made!
The Best Lebanese Lemonade
- In a large bowl, layer the lemon slices and sugar, alternating between the two until you've used up all the lemon slices and sugar. If you quartered the lemons, mix them well with the sugar until fully coated.
- Use a muddler, your hands, or a masher to mash the lemons to release some of their juices. Stir the juices with the sugar.
- Cover the bowl and set the mixture aside for 30 minutes or ideally up to 24 hours in the fridge. Occasionally, pull it out and give everything a mash and a stir to dissolve the sugar.
- After a while, the sugar will have dissolved and you will be left with a lemon syrup in the bottom of the bowl. Squeeze out the excess juice from the lemons and strain the lemon syrup through a fine mesh strainer. You should have about two cups of lemon syrup.
- Place the lemons back in the bowl with two cups of water. Mash them again and stir together to release the remaining lemon syrup, then strain the mixture again.
- Combine all the liquids together. You should now have a total of about 4 cups of lemonade concentrate. Store the concentrate in the fridge until you're ready to make lemonade.
- To make individual glasses of lemonade, fill a glass with ice, half a cup of lemonade concentrate, and a quarter cup of water. Stir, taste, and add more water as needed. Then add half a teaspoon of orange blossom water and a splash of rose water if desired. Taste and adjust to your preference.
- To make a pitcher of lemonade, fill a pitcher with ice, all of your lemonade concentrate, and two cups of water. Stir, taste, and add more water as needed. Then add one tablespoon of orange blossom water and two teaspoons of rose water if desired. Taste and adjust to your preference.
Nutrition information provided is an estimate and may vary.