August 22, 2012

Brazilian Style Key Limeade

When I was a freshman in college a lot of the girls in my complex had been asked by some boys to the Christmas formal dance. They had planned this elaborate and fancy dinner for all of their dates, and at some point while they were making dinner and getting ready for the dance they had forgotten all about some brownies that were in the oven.

For some reason they decided to come to me with their pan of almost unsalvageable brownies. At first I did not know what to do, but then I miraculously turned the burnt pan of brownies into a layered brownie cake. After that experience I was fondly referred to as "the food doctor" by that group of girls.

While I think that nickname is a little bit extreme and not totally true, I do love the challenge of fixing a recipe and making it taste better.

Yesterday one of my readers wrote this on my facebook page:

Taste Tester,
We made this yesterday for my seniors and it needs some perfecting... Can you perfect it?

Brazilian Lemonade
3 limes
1/3 cup sugar
3 tablespoons sweetened condensed milk
4 cups water


Wash limes thoroughly. Cut off the ends and slice into eight wedges. Place limes in a blender with the sugar, sweetened condensed milk, water, and ice.

Blend in an electric blender, pulsing 5 times. Strain through a fine mesh strainer to remove rinds. Serve over ice.

When I asked her what seemed "off" about it, she responded that it was "disgusting!" She later amended that response to say that it was not disgusting, but just different.

Now, I have actually had the above recipe before and I loved it. But, I am guessing  when this reader said it was disgusting, it really was disgusting. Here is why:

If you read through the whole recipe above you probably noticed that the recipe uses whole limes, not just the juice. This is so that the lime oils in the zest add extra delicious lime flavor to the finished product.

However, most people don't know that there are two parts to a citrus fruit peel. There's the zest (the colorful part) and the rind (the white part underneath the zest). The white part is very bitter. So if you are making the above recipe which uses the whole lime, you need to make sure you get limes with the thinnest peel possible so that there is a very minimal amount of bitter rind to worry about. Like in this picture: 
Brazilian Style Key Limeade via The Taste Tester
You can see that you would want to choose the lime on the right and not the one on the left which has a thicker peel. I am guessing that when my reader made this, they may have used some peels that were a little too thick and their drink ended up tasting bitter. Just a side note, I have never liked anything that tasted bitter.

So, as promised I doctored up this recipe for this reader. Not only will it be easier for her to make for her residents in the future, but it tastes awesome. Zero bitterness, no mesh strainer, and no blender needed.
Brazilian Style Key Limeade via The Taste Tester

Brazilian Style Key Limeade

1 1/2 cups bottled key lime juice
9 cups cold water
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 (14 oz) can sweetened condensed milk

Combine first three ingredients in a very large pitcher. Stir until sugar dissolves. Slowly stir in the entire can of sweetened condensed milk. Add some ice. Serve immediately.

Recipe Source: © Amanda Jenks, inspired by Our Best Bites

Makes approximately one gallon.


  1. For some reason when I first saw the picture I thought tropical and when I think tropical I think coconut... Could you add coconut milk to this at all or would it curdle with the lime juice? Would coconut even be a good addition or am I just crazy? ;-)

  2. Cheris, I am not totally sure if coconut milk would curdle or not. But I actually think it is not the best choice because it would not add a whole lot of coconut flavor. Plus if you used it you would have to add more sugar to cut the tartness of the key limes (since you would not be using the sweetened condensed milk). My suggestion would be to make it as is and then add some coconut extract. I am not sure how much so you should definitely taste as you go :) and P.S. you are not crazy! I think coconut would be an awesome addition.


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