Cafe Rio Copycat Recipe
Makes 12-14 servings
1 3/4 cups white sugar
2 cups water
2-3 sprigs fresh mint (just mint, not peppermint or spearmint)
1 1/2 cups freshly squeezed lime juice
8-10 cups cold water
1/2 cup finely chopped fresh mint leaves
fresh mint sprigs
fresh lime slices
1/2 cup sugar + freshly grated zest of 1 lime combined (for sugaring the rims of the glasses)
Combine the syrup ingredients in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil and boil for 5 minutes, stirring until the sugar dissolves. Remove from heat and strain the mint leaves. Allow to cool at room temperature or place in the refrigerator. The syrup can be made a few days ahead of time.
When ready to serve, place the chopped mint leaves in the bottom of the serving pitcher. Add the syrup, freshly squeezed lime juice, and 8 cups of cold water. Taste and add additional water to taste (if necessary). If serving over ice, you might want to make it a tiny bit sweeter than you would normally like to account for the dilution from the melted ice.
To make the lime sugar for the rims of the glasses, mix the zest of one lime with 1/2 cup sugar. Using a damp paper towel, wipe around the rim of each glass and then invert the glass into the lime sugar. Carefully fill the sugar-rimmed glasses with ice cubes and pour the limeade into the glasses to serve.
Strawberry Mint Limeade: After pouring into glasses, add a spoonful or two of strawberry sauce to taste. Other berries like blueberries, blackberries, or raspberries can be substituted for strawberries in the sauce to make other variations.