This Italian Lemon-Mint Soda Is Our New Go-To Mixer
It's the closest you’ll get to fresh lemon in cocktails without picking up a juicer.
Fresh, vibrant flavors like citrus and mint are exactly what we look for in summer cocktails. And let’s be honest: In the summer, no one wants to work too hard. So we’re always looking for an excellent mixer. And this year, we’ve found a new favorite: the Sanpellegrino Limona e Menta soda.
Pellegrino has been making its orange and lemon sodas (Aranciata and Limonata, respectively) for ages, but recently, they’ve had even more enticing flavors popping up at grocery stores around the country—Clementine. Orange and prickly pear. Pomegranate. And, our favorite for cocktails, the lemon and mint. Thanks to a good amount of real lemon juice in the soda, it’s the closest you’ll get to fresh lemon in cocktails without picking up a juicer.
Is it every bit as tasty as fresh juice and fresh mint? Perhaps just a bit less so—but a hundred times easier, and let’s be honest: In the summer, easy is key. So grab a six-pack of sodas and try them out in one of three simple cocktails, no juicing or shaking required.
Easy: Lemon-Mint Shandy
The summer really lends itself to low-proof cocktails; if you’re having a few drinks by the pool or at the beach, you’re not exactly looking to get full-on buzzed with brawny Manhattans. So we love a good shandy—basically just beer mixed with lemon-lime soda. Here, we’re opting for a light, crisp pilsner, with the lemon-mint soda to brighten it up. And since the ingredients are in equal parts, you can basically eyeball it. What could be easier?
Instructions: In a beer mug or pint glass, combine 5 ounces of a good Pilsner and 5 ounces of Limone e Menta. Garnish with a lemon wheel if you’re feeling fancy.
Intermediate: Spiked Summer Lemonade
When you’ve got a solid mixer, you don’t really need to add much to it. So we’ve experimented on spiking Limone e Menta with vodka, gin, white rum… and all worked out beautifully. (Gin is our favorite.) Swap in your spirit of choice, although for this drink, we’re partial to the lighter ones.
Instructions: In a tall glass over ice, combine an ounce and a half of spirit—vodka, white rum, and gin all highly recommended—with 4 ounces of Limone e Menta. Stir briefly and garnish with a mint sprig for the aroma … and if you happen to have ‘em around, an edible flower to dress it up.
Advanced: Rebujito, Revised
Still dead-simple to make, but perhaps more advanced in terms of ingredients. In the region surrounding Jerez, the homeland of sherry, light, dry fino sherries are often served in a rebujito, mixed with soda; the best ones, in our experience, are fino sherry, lemon-lime soda, and mint. So it’s no surprise that Limone e Menta is delicious with fino. Here, we’re just mi equal parts of the sherry and soda, with a big mint sprig to amp up the aroma. Tap the mint gently against your hand before adding it to the drink to make the scent even more vibrant.
Instructions: In a tall glass with ice, combine 2.5 ounces of fino sherry (Tio Pepe is delicious and widely available) and 2.5 ounces of Limone e Menta. Stir briefly, and garnish with a mint sprig, tapped against your hand before it’s added to the drink.