Visit a Vietnamese restaurant, and you’re likely to find chanh muối on the menu—a beverage that literally means “salty lemonade.” Chefs make the drink with pickled lemons or limes, and it can be served cold or hot.

Our weekend recipe comes from Dana Jacobi, author of The Essential Best Foods Cookbook: 225 Irresistible Recipes Featuring the Healthiest and Most Delicious Foods and a contributor to the New American Plate Cookbook: Recipes for a Healthy Weight and a Healthy Life. She substitutes freshly squeezed lemon juice for the pickled lemons, replaces sugar with agave syrup, and adds pinches of cayenne and black pepper to spice things up.

“Asians appreciate that [the peppers’] heat helps keep you cool, plus their flavors go well with the lemon,” she says. “If you find club soda more refreshing, by all means use it in place of water.”

Note: Use kosher salt in lieu of table or sea salt. It has “the cleanest taste of all salts; the minerals in sea salt affect its flavor, so every brand tastes slightly different,” Jacobi says.

All of the ingredients should be available at your local natural and organic food store.

Asian Lemonade

Makes 1 serving

1/3 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
1/8 teaspoon kosher salt
Pinch of cayenne pepper
1 tablespoon light agave syrup
3/4 cup cold water
6 ice cubes
1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper

In a measuring cup, combine the lemon juice, salt, cayenne pepper and agave syrup. Add the cold water and mix well.

Place the ice in a tall glass and pour the lemonade over it. Add the black pepper as garnish, and serve immediately.

Recipe and photo courtesy of the American Institute for Cancer Research