Preserved Lemonade

Preserved Lemonade

The weather in Philly is currently psychotic; in the sixties and sunny today, in the twenties and snowing tomorrow.  When I open my door in the morning, I never know if my street, currently dotted with human-sized potholes, will be dusted with snow, doused in sleet or colored with panes of warm, golden light.

Easy summer drink

A more fermented twist on Chanh Muoi, or salty lemonade (or limeade).

Perhaps you’re shivering away right now, shaking your fist at me for daring to suggest you consume a cold beverage.  I might agree with you if it weren’t for one thing: the egg yolk yellow of the lemon peel reminds me of the sun, an alien feature which I might forget entirely if I didn’t do these little things to remind myself it exists.

It looks like sun colors? that right, Californians and Southern Hemisphere friends?

It looks like sun colors. Wait…is that right, Californians and Southern Hemisphere friends? I can’t quite remember.

This little ferment combo is the perfect thing for the juxtaposition of seasons in which we currently find ourselves, I think. Yes, Spring is clearly attempting to come ’round.  It pokes its head in for a friendly visit every week or so, just to remind us that it exists while citrus season draws to a close.

This is a more fermented take on Chanh Muoi, or Vietnamese salty lemonade. And though it is definitely not suitable for the salt-sensitive, it would make a great Gatorade-substitute, or as one of my drunker, less athletic friends mentioned, hangover cure.  In my mind, it makes so much sense that the original version of this drink was conceived of and is popular in hot, humid climates.  You’re unlikely to get dehydrated while drinking this salty treat.

Preserved lemonade muddling labeled


Serves 1

This is a different take on a drink that you can get at just about any Vietnamese restaurant. When I order it, I always get the white people warning, so I’m passing that along.  It is a salty/sweet drink and you eat the lemon peel muddled at the bottom. It is not traditional lemonade and it might be an acquired taste for some.  For me, it was love at first sip.


  • 1/8-1/4 piece of preserved lemon, flesh and peel
  • 1.5 cups of water kefir or coconut water kefir, chilled
  • (optional alternative to water kefir, see note) 2-3 tablespoons sugar (or to taste) stirred until dissolved into 1.5 cups water or soda water


  1. Remove any visible seeds or spices from your lemon wedge
  2. Place lemon in the bottom of a glass and muddle it thoroughly with a pestle or a spoon
  3. Pour water kefir or sugar water over the lemon.
  4. Sip! And don’t forget to eat the peel at the end.  Some (me) would say it’s the best part.

Note: There are two substitutions you could easily make here.  Change preserved limes out for preserved lemons for an alternative source of joy. You could also forgo the water kefir and just add sweetened water.  It’s the traditional way to make this drink and it’s great if you want more of a sweet/salty contrast or just don’t have any water kefir on hand.  You know me: I’m always looking for maximum ferment usage.

Salty Lemonade. Perfect for that post-marathon recovery

Salty Lemonade. Perfect for that post-marathon recovery

Drinks Easy fermenting Recipes using Ferments Vegan Vegetarian


  1. Rebecca says:

    Oh wow, perfect timing. I just recently caught the fermentation bug. With help from your blog, my preserved lemons just hit the magic point, and my first batch of water kefir will be ready soon. We’ll be trying Salty Lemonade before the end of the weekend!

    • Amanda says:

      That’s so great, Rebecca! Let me know how you like it! It can take a bit of getting used to, but I do like it with my Pho!

  2. Pirate Jeni says:

    I just gave up on water kefir because it’s just too sweet for me.. which is a bummer because I was going to make preserved lemons but was unsure of what to do with them…. (sometimes I like to ferment things just to do it)

    I wonder how it would be in kombucha? Either way, I’m going to try this as soon as I get my hands on some lemons to preserve.

    • Amanda says:

      Hi Jeni,

      I hear you! The only way I can keep up with my water kefir is lots of secondary fermentation! It definitely gets rid of the sweetness.

      As for this recipe, you can definitely do it in kombucha, although it would be a whole other animal. I chose to substitute water kefir for the traditional sugar syrup (as detailed above) precisely because water kefir is sweet. It definitely gives a different flavor profile than the traditional lemonade, but I like that!

      Let me know how you like your booch version!


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