Recipe: Nenae ma’a Lemon (Lemon with Mint) drink

Recipe: Nenae ma’a Lemon (Lemon with Mint) drink
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Recipe: Nenae ma’a Lemon (Lemon with Mint) drink

This is a very popular and tasty Middle Eastern refreshment. It’s easy to make but requires fresh mint leaves.

Mint (nenae in Arabic) is an easy to grow plant that produces a wonderful and essential flavor and ingredient in many Mediterranean and Middle Eastern Arab recipes. The plant grows quickly and spreads like a weed with roots spreading wide underground and above ground, too.

Many Arab homes plant mint leaves but in large pots, or in the ground with deep metal or plastic “walls” to prevent the fast spread of this plant. Mint plants can takeover an entire garden during one full summer. They are annuals and although they wither in the late Fall and winter, they quickly return in the spring.

Mint leaves

Mint leaves

Mint leaves are about 1 to 2 inches long and oblong in shape. They have a very strong aroma and are often ground of diced and added as a spice to recipes.

You will need at least 30 mint leaves per glass (about two stalks with leaves — you can use the mint stalk also in the recipe.) Finely dice the mint leaves or use a mixer to dice and near-puree the leaves.

You will love the aroma.

For a pitcher of lemonade mix, use 16 stalks with leaves or 240 leaves, finely diced.



  • 16 mint stalks 240 leaves (30 per glass)
  • 2 quarts or 8 cups of cold, iced water
  • 2 cups freshly squeezed lemon juice — use 16 medium sized fresh lemons
  • (Or use 2 cups natural lemon juice in jar or bottle)
  • 1 cup maple syrup (or use 1/2 cup sugar)
  • Ice to fill pitcher
  • 2 medium lemons, medium (1/4 inch sliced wedges) as garnish; or use one strawberry per glass serving with green leaf still attached at stem.


Rinse off lemons to be sliced; or rinse off strawberries.

Dice the mint leaves. Squeeze the lemons (or use pre-squeezed, mixed Lemon Juice). Mix all together.

Add the syrup (or sugar, mixing the sugar in the water).

Add the water.

Mix thoroughly.

Top off the pitcher with the ice.

When serving, place a thick wedge of Lemon (or full strawberry) on the side of the glass rim.

Remember, you can get many of the products you need for this and other recipes by visiting the website of Ziyad Brothers Importing at

Also, like the Ziyad Facebook Fan Page by clicking here.

Share your recipes on the Facebook Mediterranean Food Facebook Page by clicking here.

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Managing Writer at The Arab Daily News
RAY HANANIA — Columnist

Ray Hanania is an award winning political and humor columnist who analyzes American and Middle East politics, and life in general. He is an author of several books.

"I write about three topics, the Middle East, politics and life in general. I often take my life experiences and offer them in an entertaining way to readers, and I take on the toughest topics like the Israel-Palestine conflict and don't pull any punches about what I feel is fair. But, my priority is always about writing the good story."

Hanania covered Chicago Politics and Chicago City Hall from 1976 through 1992. Hanania began writing in 1975 when he published The Middle Eastern Voice newspaper in Chicago (1975-1977). He later published “The National Arab American Times” newspaper which was distributed through 12,500 Middle East food stores in 48 American States (2004-2007).

Hanania writes weekly columns on Middle East and American Arab issues for the Arab News in Saudi Arabia at, and at, and at He has also published weekly columns in the Jerusalem Post newspaper,, Newsday Newspaper in New York, the Orlando Sentinel Newspapers, and the Arlington Heights Daily Herald.

Palestinian, American Arab and Christian, Hanania’s parents originate from Jerusalem and Bethlehem.

Hanania is the recipient of four (4) Chicago Headline Club “Peter Lisagor Awards” for Column writing. In November 2006, he was named “Best Ethnic American Columnist” by the New American Media. In 2009, Hanania received the prestigious Sigma Delta Chi Award for Writing from the Society of Professional Journalists. He is the recipient of the MT Mehdi Courage in Journalism Award. He was honored for his writing skills with two (2) Chicago Stick-o-Type awards from the Chicago Newspaper Guild. In 1990, Hanania was nominated by the Chicago Sun-Times editors for a Pulitzer Prize for his four-part series on the Palestinian Intifada.

His writings have also been honored by two national Awards from ADC for his writing, and from the National Arab American Journalists Association.

The managing editor of Suburban Chicagoland Online News website, Hanania's columns also appear in the Southwest News Newspaper Group of 8 newspapers.

Click here to send Ray Hanania and email.

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Visit this link to read Ray's column archive at the ArabNews,com
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