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Think Summer Thoughts with Boozy Brazilian Lemonade

Photography by Tracie Davis

It may be a little early to start planning the summery sips for your next cookout, but we’d argue that this refreshing drink is so good, it deserves some year-round love. Brazilian lemonade has recently garnered attention from TikTok users: Videos with the hashtag #Brazilianlemonade have raked in 34 million views, which we think qualifies it as an internet sensation.  

And for good reason. The drink combines whole fresh limes (yes, whole!) and sweetened condensed milk to produce a creamy, fresh and deeply citrusy refresher.

In the recipe below, we add rum to the mix, which contributes warm undertones of caramel, fruit and vanilla. It pairs beautifully with the bright, acidic limes and cuts through the richness of the sweetened condensed milk. You can use any of these best rums for this cocktails, but we think a good Brazilian rum would work especially well.

And if you find yourself craving even more citrusy cocktails? Try the Lemon Drop Martini, Simple Rosé Lemonade or Key Lime Pie Milk Punch.

Why Is It Called Brazilian Lemonade?  

This drink is commonly found in Brazil (not surprising, based on the name), but what may seem odd is that although the drink has “lemonade” it its name, most recipes actually call for limes. There’s no straight answer for why this is, but some theories say it’s simply because limes are far more abundant in Brazil than lemons.

Another reason might be because the Portuguese word for “lime” is limão and the word for lemonade is “limonada.” Given that they’re so similar, it’s easy to see why Portuguese speakers might give limes a starring role in lemonade.

Fun fact: Brazilian lemonade is often referred to as Swiss Lemonade in Brazil. It’s a reference to the Swiss brand Nestle’s sweetened condensed milk, which features the image of a Swiss milkmaid on the label.  

How to Make Brazilian Lemonade  

The first step when making a Brazilian lemonade is to create a smooth, diluted lime juice. Start by blending together your limes (with the peel and all) with water. You’ll then want to strain out the grainy bits using a fine-mesh strainer or cheesecloth. Then, add in your sweetened condensed milk and flavorings. Most traditional recipes simply require sweetened condensed milk and ice, but we add in a touch of sugar (for extra sweetness, and to balance the alcohol) and rum for a kick.  

Boozy Brazilian Lemonade Recipe 

Recipe by Jacy Topps

Ingredients:

6 limes, scrubbed and cut into eighths

¾ cup sugar

½ cup condensed milk

6 cups water

4 ounces rum (preferably Brazilian rum)

Lime wheels, for garnish

Instructions:

Add limes, sugar and 4 cups of water to the blender. Blend 30-45 seconds.

Photography by Tracie Davis

Using a fine-mesh strainer, pour mixture into a bowl, pressing all of the liquid out.

Photography by Tracie Davis

Pour the strained liquid back into the blender. Add the rum, condensed milk and remaining 2 cups of water. Blend for 30 seconds.

Photography by Tracie Davis

Pour cocktail into a highball glass filled with ice. Garnish with lime wheel. Serves two

Photography by Tracie Davis

FAQs  

What Is Brazilian Lemonade Made of?  

The classic recipe includes limes, sweetened condensed milk and water. Our version has some extra sugar and rum for a boozy twist.  

Why Is My Brazilian Lemonade Bitter?  

The peel and pith of citrus fruits can have some pretty bitter flavors, which is why we recommend only blending the limes for a few seconds and then straining out the blended bits. Additionally, limes and lemons can vary in flavor; you may have just selected some extra-bitter ones by luck of the draw. Luckily, sweetness balances bitterness, so simply add a touch more sweetened condensed milk or sugar until you achieve the flavor you’re looking for.  

If you find you’re particularly sensitive to the bitter flavors in the lime peel, you can use just fresh lime juice without the pith and peel. By doing this, you lose some of the flavors and oils from the lime zest, but it will still taste delicious.  

Is Condensed Milk the Same as Evaporated Milk?  

No! Though both are shelf-stable and typically canned products made from milk, they are quite different. Sweetened condensed milk is cow’s milk with water removed and sugar added, creating a very rich, creamy and sweet syrupy dairy product. Evaporated milk is also made from cow’s milk and has a significant amount of water removed. The difference is that evaporated milk doesn’t have added sugar. If you accidentally picked up a can of evaporated milk for your drink, you’ll need to increase the sugar blended into the final beverage, and it may not be as thick.  

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