Mint Limeade

JayHeyl

TVWBB Pro
I posted about this is the kitchen equipment forum when I was looking for a citrus juicer recommendation, but this forum doesn't seem to be getting much love so I'll post the actual recipe here. Cafe Rio is a Mexican restaurant chain out west that has several drinks made fresh in the restaurant each day. My favorite is the mint limeade. It really hits the spot on a hot summer afternoon. This is an approximation of their recipe.

Zest from 4-5 limes
2-3 sprigs of mint (spearmint, not peppermint)
1-3/4 cups sugar
2 cups water
1-1/2 cups fresh squeezed lime juice (about 12 limes)
8-10 cups water
Leaves from 3-4 sprigs of mint, roughly chopped or crushed

Zest 4-5 limes using a Microplane-type grater. Mix zest into sugar and allow to sit for several hours to a day.
Combine lime sugar, 2-3 sprigs of mint, and 2 cups water in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil. Continue boiling for five minutes. Turn off heat and allow to cool. Strain out the mint sprigs and most of the zest. (Some zest will likely pass through. That's okay.)
Squeeze limes to get 1-1/2 cups of juice. Citrus juices are always better if left to sit for at least several hours. Cover and store in refrigerator until ready to use.
Combine cooled mint/lime syrup, lime juice, chopped mint leaves, with 8 cups of water. Add more water to taste, bearing in mind it will be watered down further if you serve it over ice.

If you want to get fancy, make up some more lime sugar, moisten rim of serving glass, lightly press into lime sugar. Garnish with additional mint leaves.


The pitcher I use to make this isn't large enough for a full recipe so I add only four cups of water and then add additional water when serving. This works well except for when my nephew decides to try it without asking and drinks the concentrate straight up. That's one way to keep him out of my mint limeade.
 

Arun L.

TVWBB Pro
I made this.

Haven't tried it yet.

Is the crushed mint supposed to mix well? It just floats to the top of the jar.
 

Arun L.

TVWBB Pro
The pitcher I use to make this isn't large enough for a full recipe so I add only four cups of water and then add additional water when serving. This works well except for when my nephew decides to try it without asking and drinks the concentrate straight up. That's one way to keep him out of my mint limeade.
I could only add 4 cups of water to my jar too. I'll see how it tastes.

Otherwise, I'll add more water when serving, too.
 

Arun L.

TVWBB Pro
Also, I couldn't figure out what type of mint was in stores. I went to a few stores, but they just say "mint".

I looked at pictures of spearmint vs. peppermint online, but I still wasn't sure.

Oh well.
 

JayHeyl

TVWBB Pro
Sorry about the lack of response. I haven't checked this forum in a while. Regarding the yield, you should get about a dozen 8 oz. servings. It seems like I get more than that but I've never actually counted.

I've read up a bit on the issue of "mint" and haven't found a definitive answer. My personal take on it is recipes where you should definitely use peppermint will specifically call for peppermint. Most recipes where it calls for generic mint they probably mean spearmint. If you have a personal preference you can almost always freely substitute one for the other. I've seen some recipes for peppermint ice cream where it says it won't be the same if you use spearmint. Not necessarily bad, just not the same. I had a good sized spearmint plant in the back yard so that's what I used all summer for this. Last year I had a peppermint plant and I didn't really care for this with the peppermint.

Mint is fairly hardy and will do fine in a container (actually recommended since it will take over your yard otherwise), so you could grow your own. I've actually seen whole mint plants in the produce section at the grocery store for considerably less than I paid at a nursery this spring. Keep it well watered and give it some fertilizer occasionally and you'll have all the mint you'll need. My plant kept me in mint limeade all summer. (Now if I could just get a lime tree that will survive in zone 5.)

One thing I noticed was this seemed to be a lot better the second and following days. On the day I made it the lime seemed too sharp and the mint way too far in the background. By the second day everything seemed to have melded much better. I noticed this more than once so I don't think it was just my imagination.

Did you like the result?
 

Arun L.

TVWBB Pro
Thanks for responding.

I've made it twice.

With the container I'm using, I think I get 6 or 7 servings. I'll measure the pitcher size next time to see how many oz it is.

I've made it twice. I liked it a little more the first time. (I think the limes themselves were better the first time, and I used more limes too).

It's very refreshing.

The first time I made it, I didn't have any the first day. So when I had it, it was already the second day. I thought it tasted great right away.
 

JayHeyl

TVWBB Pro
Have you tried the Cafe Rio version? It's been several years since I've had theirs so it's difficult remembering the exact taste.

I believe the pitcher I use holds two liters. With the lime juice, simple syrup, and four cups of water it's very close to full.
 

Arun L.

TVWBB Pro
I have not. I just checked their locations. Closest location is 108 miles from me. But it's somewhere that I might visit 1 - 2 times every 1 - 2 years.

If I try theirs, I'll let you know.
 

John B

TVWBB Super Fan
This is my favorite cafe rio drink, I go there to eat frequently. The franchise began here in Utah, there are at least 6-7 within 10 miles of my house. I will definitely be trying this recipe. Thanks for posting!
 

JayHeyl

TVWBB Pro
This is my favorite cafe rio drink, I go there to eat frequently. The franchise began here in Utah, there are at least 6-7 within 10 miles of my house. I will definitely be trying this recipe. Thanks for posting!
I eyed this in the restaurant quite a few times before I finally tried it. Then I found myself stopping there for dinner primarily because of the mint limeade. I'd get a large, which is usually silly when you can get free refills, just so I'd have more to take home.

Having some idea what it takes to make this from fresh squeeze limes, I can't imagine they're making a penny on it. Usually the drinks are a huge profit maker for fast food restaurants, but I have to think they're losing money on all the freshly made drinks.
 

Arun L.

TVWBB Pro
I measured by jar. It's 64 oz.

So it's the same size as @JayHeyl's container.

After the simple syrup, and lime juice, there's enough room for 4 coups of water.

I like it the way it comes out, in that container. That first time I used about 18 limes, and it was good how it came out.
 

JayHeyl

TVWBB Pro
I've averaged 10-12 limes for a batch of mint limeade. After just about killing my wrist squeezing them with a manual juicer, I bought a Dash motorized reamer from Amazon. It was not terribly expensive and was certainly cheaper than a trip to the doctor for carpal tunnel. (Seriously, I messed up my wrist pretty bad. It interfered with my use of the hand for about ten days and hurt for another two weeks after that. The manual juicer is for doing two or three pieces of fruit, not a dozen.) I've only used the Dash three or four times so I obviously can't speak to longevity, but it works well. There's an adjustable screen to allow or prevent various amounts of pulp to pass through. It's a bit fiddly to take it apart for cleaning but far from the worst I've seen. If you end up making mint limeade a lot, I definitely recommend getting a motorized juicer of some kind.
 

JayHeyl

TVWBB Pro
Dash Juicer. I got a white one. Used it the other night to juice a few lemons I bought to make lemon extract. Needed the zest but wasn't going to throw away the juice. Put it in ice cube trays and froze it.

It's a bit of a pain to clean as the screen is actually two nested plastic pieces that snap together. They go together easy enough but can be difficult to get apart. Aside from that small issue, it has performed well so far.
 

Arun L.

TVWBB Pro
Thanks, I like how it's not to big. I'll add it to my wish list and get it at some point.

Doing some reading, it seems that the screen is there to separate the pulp. But if I don't mind the pump, then can I not use the screen?

Would that make it easier to clean?
 

JayHeyl

TVWBB Pro
How long does the mint stay fresh in the limeaid?
The consensus seems to be that fresh lemonade will keep in the refrigerator for up to a week. My mint limeade has never lasted that long. I can't see any reason the mint would go bad before the lime juice starts to ferment, so I'm thinking it should be good for a week.
 

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