Sunday, April 12, 2009

When Life Hands You Lemons

As seems to be the case with me sometimes, the stars have aligned. Weeks back, my good friend Kristin gifted me a beautiful slender glass bottle of her homemade limoncello. The liqueur had been steeping away for months under her careful attention, gathering flavor and potency until it was just right. When my precious allotment was handed over, I promptly put it in the freezer, awaiting just the right moment to bust it out.

And then, last week during our visit to Moondance Cellars (see my previous Shameless Plug here!), I discovered Dave and Priscilla's Meyer Lemon tree, and was given carte blanche access to take as many lemons as I like. And they had plenty.... they keep a strand of Christmas lights threaded through the tree, the heat of which is just enough to keep the tree producing gorgeous, sweet fruit year-round. I mean, get a load of this:

Needless to say, I brough home a LOT of lemons. And commenced to make a rather adult version of lemonade.

I started by making a Meyer Lemon/Mint Granita - a refreshing, sweet treat all on its own. It makes for a wonderful dessert - and of course (because it's me!) - it really couldn't be any easier. That Granita then became the base for a cocktail utilizing Kristin's limencello. The result is a very grown-up lemon Slurpee, perfect for a hot summer afternoon. (I know it's only Spring - but I'm pretending.) At any rate - enjoy. There's nothing sour about these recipes!

Meyer Lemon/Mint Granita

  • 1 cup water
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup Meyer Lemon juice
  • 3/4 cup loosely-chopped mint
In a saucepan, bring the water and sugar to a boil and stir until sugar is dissolved. Add the lemon juice and mint, and bring up to a boil again for an additional 2 minutes. Pour into a flat casserole pan through a fine mesh seive to remove mint leaves; place the pan in the freezer. Every 30 minutes, rake the liquid with a fork as it freezes to produced a shaved-ice consistency. It will be frozen completely after about 3-4 hours.

Limoncello Fizz
Pour 1 shot limoncello* into the bottom of a martini glass. Add a heaping scoop of the Meyer Lemon/Mint Granita. Fill the remainder of the glass with sparkling apple cider. (Would be an excellent non-alchoholic drink as well - just eliminate the Limoncello.)

*Interested in making your own limoncello? Get your copy of the Fare to Remember Cookbook, for a recipe contributed by my friend Jill, master limoncello maker!!


  1. What a great post! There really is nothing like a meyer lemon - so different from everyday lemons. I absolutely want to make my own limoncello. My aunt lives in Bari, Italy and she makes the best limoncello I've ever had.

  2. My mouth is watering. I need to live hundreds of miles closer to a Meyer lemon tree, for sure.