Heatwave-Ready Mint Lemonade Recipe

It has been very hot around here lately.

I am not complaining, as I actually like the peculiar atmosphere heatwaves create — blazing sun, closed shutters, quiet afternoons, glistening faces — and it happens seldom enough in Paris for me to welcome the meteorological oddity.

Not to mention the opportunity to wear tank tops and strappy sandals.

To ward off dehydration, I have been making batch after batch of this no-sugar, mint-infused lemonade. (Citronnade à la menthe, if you’re practicing your French.)

It is simple as can be — in this heat, who has the energy for anything elaborate? — and it is a delightfully refreshing beverage to tinkle your ice cubes in.

Mint Lemonade

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Mint Lemonade Recipe

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Total Time: 2 hours

Makes 2 liters (2 quarts).

Mint Lemonade Recipe


  • 2 organic lemons
  • 2 liters (2 quarts) fresh water (preferably filtered)
  • 12 leaves of fresh mint
  • Ice cubes


  1. Walk barefoot into the kitchen.
  2. If you have the energy, grate the zest of 1 lemon (I use a microplane zester). If you don't, don't worry about it.
  3. Slice the lemons in two, juice them, and add the juice and zest to a 2-liter (2-quart) jug. Pour in the water.
  4. Rinse the mint leaves and add them in.
  5. Stir with a long wooden spoon. (I am in love with those.)
  6. Take a moment to recuperate after this strenuous activity.
  7. Cover the jug, and allow to rest in the fridge for a couple of hours.
  8. Take a nap in the meantime.
  9. When you wake up, put a couple of ice cubes in a glass, stir the lemonade again, and pour some in your glass.
  10. If a mint leaf escapes into your glass, keep it as a pretty garnish.
  11. Drink avidly.
  12. Press the cold jug on each of your cheeks in turn, eyes closed.
  13. Pour yourself another glass, return the jug to the fridge, and go sit close to that fan.


Repeat every hour, or as often as needed.


This post was first published in August 2004 and updated in July 2016.

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  • Meric Duranson

    Bonjour Clotilde, Je vis dans Lyon depuis février dernier. J’apprends français, but for the time being my Engilish is much more better than my French. So…I like your page very much, especially the way you write. I will try to do the lemonade this evening after work. Thanks a lot !

  • This is a great idea – without sugar (the american lemonade version) it makes for a much more refreshing treat. It never occurred to me to omit the sugar part but its absence just sounds like a better tasting and more refreshing drink!

  • Ann

    This brought back good memories for me. My grandmother used to make mint lemonade as a treat for me when I was very small. She would wrap ice cubes in a linen tea towel and smash them with a hammer until the ice was very finely crushed, put it in an enameled-metal cup, and pour the lemonade over. One of the best treats ever on a hot day. Thanks for such a great blog!

  • Debjani

    Hi Clothilde,
    I have to congratulate on the most charming blog ever. I read it everyday at work and it really brightens up my day (and kitchen). You really are Paris’ best ambassador. But I can’t help wondering, how do you find the time and energy to shop, cook, write and hold down a proper job????????

  • Thanks for the wonderful idea! I can use this all year round, being in a tropical country. :-)

  • Ahhh, I feel refreshed just reading the recipe! And I think the name is much nicer in French than in English.

  • this drink is just the epitome of late summer…

    AND you could add some rum and make yourself a modified mojito! mmm.

  • Céline

    C’est marrant car moi aussi, j’ai eu une forte envie de limonade récemment…

    Sauf que moi, je suis allée chez mon fournisseur favori (Ed, pour ne pas le nommer!) et je me suis acheté une bouteille de concentré de citron !

    Cherchez la différence… :-)

    ta soeur.

  • Hello there! Wandered in here from another side and I love it! I´m definately gonna keep coming back here every day! What a nice blog you´ve got! Cheers mate! :)

  • Kim

    Lemonade is also very delicious with fresh basil in it – it gives the drink a very “earthy” taste. Different types of basil have different results – Thai basil gives it a purplish hue for example.

    For an American/sugary version, crush the basil with the sugar and proceed as normal.

  • I had some minty non-sugared lemonade recently that was similar to yours. It was a super hot day and we were at a little festival for hardneck garlic varieties. The women who were selling it would make your cup on the spot and let you choose various spices to be mixed in the drink. Derrick and I both asked for cardamom. Yum!

  • Gwen

    Hi Clothilde,

    This post brought back a wave of memories. I spent last summer in the Middle East, and they drink the same mint lemonade all the time there. It’s the most refreshing drink on earth.


  • Annie

    We moved to Paris last November and I am growing mint, basil, etc. on my balcony, for exactly recipes like this! My French neighbor says they are not safe to eat, though, due to car exhaust and city pollution. Any knowledge on urban gardening safety will be greatly appreciated.
    PS- I love making this Citronade in a “recycled” Lorina bottle w/ attached stopper. So French!

  • Marjorie

    Sounds perfect. I am going to make it right now. Thank you Clotilde !

  • Anne

    Ice cubes! What a dream.

  • We are recently planing to go for a picnic very soon. Heatwave-Ready Mint Lemonade will be very idle to try out. I am sure my friends are going to like it and best thing I liked about Heatwave-Ready Mint Lemonade is all are very simple ingredients.

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