Thursday, July 2, 2009


Ahhhh, summertime! What is more summery than lemonade? The brightness of real lemons can almost be forgotten with so many artificial lemon concoctions around, but these two delights are worth the time and effort: limoncello, and homemade lemonade, or lemon slushes.

Limoncello is the lemon-flavored liquor made in Italy, especially in the Naples region and southward. I've always had it served ice-cold, stored in the freezer. The high alcohol content prevents it from solidifying. I have no idea if this is traditional in Italy, but we'll be there later this summer on vacation, so I'll find out.

I've tasted several Italian limoncellos, and have had Buca di Beppo's house-made limoncello as well. I found this recipe on the internet (after rejecting many I didn't trust!), and have made it a couple times, so I know it works, and is just as good as the others I've tasted. I hope you enjoy!

8-10 lemons, scrubbed and toweled dry (preferably organic to minimize pesticides on the peels)
750ml bottle of 100 proof vodka (it's traditional to use grain alcohol, but I prefer this "lighter" version; also, grain alcohol is illegal in Minnesota)
3 c. water
3 c. sugar

Using a vegetable peeler, carefully peel all of the zest off of the lemons. Try not to get any of the white pith. Place the peels in a quart jar. Fill the jar to the top with the vodka (you won't use the whole bottle). Cover tightly, and store in a dark, cool place. Each day, shake the jar once.

Steep the peels for at least a week, and up to 2 weeks. To complete the recipe, make a syrup out of the water and sugar by heating both in a saucepan until hot and the sugar is completely dissolved. Be careful to clean any crystals from the edges of the pan and dissolve them into the syrup. Cool.

Strain the lemon-infused alcohol into a bowl with a pouring spout. Pour in the syrup, and stir together. Find attractive glass bottles with cork stoppers and fill them with the limoncello, using a funnel if necessary. Store in the freezer until served.

Fresh Lemon Slush
Now you have a bunch of peeled lemons. What to do? Juice them all, of course, and make lemonade! It takes waaaay more sugar to make lemonade than you'd think. I used about 2-1/2 cups for my last batch...maybe more. Keep adding sugar and tasting until the sweetness seems right to you. Be sure to completely dissolve all of the sugar you've added between tastings.

You can now add water to make lemonade. Or, you can add about 2/3rds of the water you'd add to make it drinkable, and use this concentrated lemonade to make lemon slushes. Fill a blender half-full of ice cubes, pour in chilled lemonade concentrate, and puree. Yuuuuummmmy! I won't suggest adding rum or vodka, since you already have a bunch of limoncello in the freezer. :-)

No comments:

Post a Comment