Limonada – A refreshing and sparkling Mexican drink

Limonada is a traditional and refreshing Mexican drink made out of limes, syrup, and sparkling water. If you are looking for a drink that will refresh you to your very core, Mexican limonada is where it’s at.

Mexican sparkling limonada in a glass with lime slices.

This is one of the most popular Mexican beverages and I warn you, it’s addictive. It’s also incredibly easy to make! 

What Is Mexican Limonada?

Also known as limeade or limonada soda, this is a refreshing drink made with lime juice, sugar, and still water or sparkling water.

Though lemonade is a universal drink that you can find literally anywhere, Mexican limonada is a bit special because it’s made with limes instead of lemons.

That means the flavor is different and if you want to have an authentic experience with this Mexican drink, you can’t make it any other way. 

Close-up of limonada on a glass.

In Mexico, when you go to some local restaurant and ask for a limonada, chances are that the waitress will ask something like -¿Natural o mineral?- This only means if you’d like your drink made with still water (natural) or with sparkling water (mineral).

Limes or Lemons?

When it comes to this Mexican drink, the answer is always limes! Though they are both citrus fruits with a similar flavor, they are different. First of all, lemons are bright yellow while limes are green, though some limes turn a greenish-yellow when they ripen. 

Second of all, limes are smaller and rounder, and they vary in size, while lemons have a distinctive oval shape and they tend to be 2 to 4 inches in diameter.

Then there’s the flavor difference in this simple limeade! Though both of these fruits are tart, lemons tend to be sweet while limes are bitter. That means limes are sourer, so the flavor is a lot more intense. 

A bowl with key limes.

Read more about the difference between limes and lemons.

Sprinkle Water or Still Water?

This one is truly up to you. You can make yours with sprinkle water or still water and it will be delicious and refreshing either way.

I personally make it with sprinkle water because it gives it that extra something-something, but if you’re not a fan of it, you can use good ol’ still water. 

The only difference between still water and sprinkle water is that the latter has carbon dioxide gas, which is the source of the wonderful fizz. That’s it! So, sprinkle water is just as pure and healthy as still water, but it’s a bit more fun. 

Closeup on limonada.

The Health Benefits of Limeada

Because this drink is primarily made of lime juice, you’ll enjoy a few health benefits. Limes are super rich in vitamin C, antioxidants, calcium, magnesium, potassium, and many other nutrients that your body will be grateful for. 

Related: Limes and nutrition benefits. By Health Line.

Adding more limes to your diet will give your immune system a boost, promote healthier skin, and it will help prevent the risk of heart disease, kidney stones, and it may even lower the risk of certain types of cancer. Limes also increase iron absorption and help with digestion. 

A citrus juiced with lime juice and some limes on the side.

As you can see, this drink can do a lot more for you than just refresh your body and soul! If you go the extra mile and use natural sweeteners instead of refined sugar, it can even help with weight loss. How about that?

The Step by Step Recipe

Start by making the syrup, you can also make it the day before as you will need some time to allow to cool down.

  • Place sugar and water in a small saucepan.
  • Bring to a simmer over medium-low heat and cook for about 5 minutes or until syrup thickens a bit.
  • Allow to cool to room temperature and transfer to a bottle. Place in fridge until needed.
Pouring simple syrup on a glass bottle.
  • Now, juice the limes using a manual or electric citrus squeezer.
  • Strain the juice in a large cup or bowl.
  • Add 1/8 cup of lemon juice to a cocktail glass.
  • Next, add the same amount of syrup.
  • Last, fill the glass with cold sparkling water. Give it a quick mix and serve.

Large serving (a pitcher):

  • Pour all lemon juice into a large pitcher (about 8 cups capacity).
  • Add 1 cup of simple syrup and mix well.
  • Slowly, pour in about 7 cups of cold sparkling water.
  • Gently mix and adjust lime juice and sweet to taste. Serve immediately.

Chef’s notes

  • You need a light, runny syrup, so don’t overcook or it will become too thicker.
  • Don’t be tempted to use ice for cooling your drink, or if you do, make sure you drink it right away or it will become too watery and ruin the bubbles of the sparkling water.
  • So, make sure your sparkling water is very cold, this way you won’t feel the need to add ice.
Limonada drink made with sparkling water in a glass.

Variations

  • Add some leaves of mint for a nice, minty touch.
  • Swap regular syrup for agave syrup for a earthy kick and healthier option.
  • For a grown-up drink, use a shot of your favorite booze on each serving.

Make ahead and store

If you want to make ahead this drink, start by making the syrup and storing up to 2 months in the refrigerator.

You can also juice the limes, transfer the juice to a container, and freeze for up to 3 months. Defrost the juice and use it as the recipe calls.

More Mexican Drinks You Might Like

Mexican easy limonada recipe.

Limonada

author Maricruz
6 servings
Make this fizzy Mexican limonada with just a few ingredients and enjoy during a hot day of summer.
prep 10 minutes
cook 5 minutes
total 15 minutes

Ingredients 

  • 8-10 large limes
  • 6 cups sparkling water
  • ½ cup sugar
  • ½ cup water
  • lime slices for garnish (optional)

Instructions
 

Make the syrup

  • Place sugar and water in a small saucepan.
  • Bring to a simmer over medium-low heat and cook for about 5 minutes or until syrup thickens a bit.
  • Allow to cool to room temperature and transfer to a bottle. Refrigerate until needed.

Make limonada

  • Now, juice the limes using a manual or electric citrus squeezer.
  • Strain the juice in a large cup or bowl.
  • Pour ⅛ cup of lemon juice into a cocktail glass and then add the same amount of syrup.
  • Fill the glass with cold sparkling water.
  • Garnish with lime slices, give it a quick mix, and serve.
Nutrition Information
Calories: 91kcal | Carbohydrates: 26g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 1g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 1g | Sodium: 53mg | Potassium: 96mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 18g | Vitamin A: 45IU | Vitamin C: 26mg | Calcium: 42mg | Iron: 1mg
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3 Comments

    1. It was a little confusing talking about limonada and then calling it lemonada, but I can’t wait to try the limonada recipe. My Mexican friends make it with very little sugar, just enough to tone the tartness down a little and lots of water. We drank it the same as a glass of water on the dinner table. Love it.

      1. What you’ve been drinking is probably “agua de limón” which has little lime juice and sugar. In Mexico is very common to use both names (limonada and agua de limón) for the drink. But limonada is also commonly used to make the drink with sparkling water, syrup, and more lime juice.

        Hope you enjoy the recipe.