Lemonade is so mixable and refreshing, and there are countless recipes for adult lemonade. It’s very mixable and flavors can be discovered to please every palate.
The basic mix I love with lemonade is vodka. The smooth neutral flavor of vodka is the perfect complement. Make your lemonade as you usually would, as sweet or as tart as you like. Take a good mid-price vodka, mix to taste. The vodka should add a little bite, but don’t let the alcohol overpower the natural refreshing properties of the lemonade.
To add a little taste, use flavored vodka to jazz it up. Raspberry vodka is my favorite mixer in lemonade. The subtle sweetness of the raspberry really brings a little pleasure to everyone.
Another classic flavor in lemonade is cranberry vodka. The tartness of the cranberry is a cool addition.
At your next backyard party, keep it simple. Have a big pitcher of lemonade and a couple bottles of vodka. Your guests will love the versatility and the abundant choices. If you really want to class it up, have some fresh-cut fruit available for garnish. It adds the touch and as you are lounging in the sun, you feel healthier, too!
In Italy they have been making lemon drinks for years. Limoncello is a lemon liquor that I think will keep getting more and more popular. It’s made from Amalfi lemons in the Sorrentine Peninsula of Italy. Mt. Vesuvius’ famous eruption left the hills of Sorrento rich in special nutrients and soil that can’t be found anywhere else.
Limoncello is delightful semi-sweet liquor with the touch of tart lemon that blows you away. There are a few good brands. One of my favorites is the Gioia Luisa limoncello, made by the Saverio Family since 1946.
Limoncello is traditionally made from the zest of lemons. Amalfi lemon peels are steeped in grain neutral alcohol until the sumptuous oils are released. This is then mixed with a pure neutral alcohol. The resulting mixture is amazing in its bright colors and flavor.
The other night I came home in the mood for a martini, but discovered I had no vermouth! Now, once in a while I will have a very, very dry martini (no vermouth) but I decided to step back a bit.
I spied a bottle of limoncello that I had left from last summer, in the back of the bar. I decided to throw a little in the shaker with my vodka. It turned out delicious! I was amazed at how the sweet/tart flavors of the limoncello balanced the flavor of the vodka. I threw in a lemon twist, and had a great cocktail.
At the end of the day, I don’t always measure my drinks. I like to free pour and hope my intuition guides me well. But for this cocktail, I did roughly 4 parts vodka to 1.5 parts limoncello. The resultant elixir had the bright sun like color of lemon, but the satisfying burn of a good martini. I was really surprised how good it was.
Gioia Luisa also makes a limoncello cream. This uses their famous limoncello, but adds cream for a rich decadent treat. It is best to keep it ice cold and sip after dinner. It is surprisingly good — not too sweet, but a real tart gem. It conjures images of a good lemon creme pie. Try it for a different after-dinner cocktail.
The Luisa family decided to use the expertise gained in making limoncello to make orangecello — a little sweeter than the limoncello. But if you put it in your freezer and pull it out on a warm night, you will see a transformation in your mood and your taste buds. The Gioia Luisa family of cocktails is high quality and will make any gathering special.
Whatever your summer plans include, a little lemon is always good. Don’t be afraid to experiment — you never know what you will find. Enjoy in moderation and cheers!