Monday, August 29, 2011


Two years ago my family and I had the chance to travel to Guyana to visit family and friends that we had not seen in years.  One of the best parts of the trip was being able to eat my aunty Loreen's "hand-cooking" (as Guyanese people would say) on a daily basis.  One thing in particular that I remembered her making was  limewash, which is a drink that is similar to lemonade, but made with limes and mixed essence instead.  
It is absolutely refreshing and really delicious on a hot and humid day.  Limewash is also known as lime drink, lime water, or limeade. 

I went grocery shopping a few days ago and saw these key limes on sale and the first thing that came to mind was limewash.  I decided to head home and make a large pitcher.  I put my own spin on this thirst-quencher by adding a few lemons (which I needed to use up) and using key limes. 

Key limes are found predominantly in Mexico and the Florida Keys, hence the name.  They are about the size of a golf ball and are more sweet and tart than a regular lime.  This is why they are particularly used in key lime pie.  When key limes are green they are usually more acidic, once they start to turn yellow, the acidity decreases and the lime actually becomes a lot sweeter.  I wouldn't recommend using yellow key limes for limewash because you really need a tart lime flavor to make this type of drink.  

Squeeze lime juice into a measuring cup, remove seeds with a spoon

Pour lime juice into pitcher of 8 cups water

Give it a stir...

I had two lemons I wanted to use up so I added them to this mixture. Please note that lemons are not usually used in limewash, but I live in America and this is free country ;) 

Add lemon juice to the pitcher

Add 1/4 cup to 1/2 cup sugar.  This is all relative, you can add as much sugar as you like, I like to use coarse brown sugar which is known in America as Sugar in the Raw. In Guyana it is simply known as brown sugar :) 

Ever see a close up of brown sugar? Take a look...

back to the recipe...add 1 tsp mixed essence or vanilla essence

Slice up any left over limes and add to the pitcher

Give it a good stir and refrigerate until chilled 

Limewash Recipe
(makes approximately 9 cups)

  • 8 cups water
  • 20 key limes or 10 - 12 regular limes
  • 1-2 lemons (if you have them handy)
  • 1/4 - 1/2 cup brown sugar (add to suit to your taste)
  • 1 tsp mixed essence or vanilla essence 
  1. Fill a pitcher with 8 cups cold water. 
  2. Squeeze juice out of key limes or regular limes into a measuring cup.  If limes feel a little hard put them in the microwave for 15 seconds at a time, this will allow the juices to flow and make it easier to squeeze. Remove seeds and add juice to water. 
  3. Add sugar and stir until it dissolves.  I like using sugar in the raw, but you can use any type of sugar you have on hand. 
  4. Add mixed essence or vanilla essence and stir. 
  5. Slice any left over limes or lemons and place in pitcher. 
  6. Refrigerate until chilled as this tastes best when cold. 


  1. Oh, this sounds like a wonderful antidote to the heat wave! Can't wait to make it. Thanks for sharing.

  2. This looks absolutely heavenly! My Granny used to make lime juice as well; she called it her "lime squash" and always added some Angostura bitters at the end. :-)

  3. No problem Belinda! Thanks for visiting!

    Hi Caribchile! You know I have two bottles of Angostura bitters in my cupboard, I will add a dash of that next time! Thanks for visiting!

  4. Alica, I am nearly in my 40's and have been away from Guyana since I was 25. There used to a lady selling lime wash and all sorts of baked goods outside of my school when I was a young girl. I have not made this in so long with the availability of powdered drinks in our grocery stores. I will have to make this and just sit and think of my school girl days! thank you so much.

  5. Swank!!...that's what it is called...a staple in Guyana. Usually eaten with buns...swank and buns:)

  6. i am g guyaneses and i am in love whit lime wash

  7. I am puzzled by the garnish.
    What did you do with the lime slice?

    1. Hi Anonymous,

      I just rolled the edges of the lime in brown sugar! Thanks for visiting :)