Thursday, April 24, 2008

Limoncello Mint Lemonade

For the record I don't watch The View. However, I remember hearing from someone about Dannny Devito's drunken appearance on the show. Apparently, he pulled an "all nighter" drinking with George Clooney and showed up on the set intoxicated. I don't find this strange or out of the ordinary. However, I find the fact that he got smashed doing shots of limoncello intriguing. This was my first introduction to limoncello, so I set out to learn about this magical elixir.

Limoncello is a aromatic sweet lemon liqueur that is made from lemon peels. It's not exactly "shot" material. For the record I don't advocate doing numerous shots of any liquor. However, Mr. Devito's made the mistake of doing too many shots of limoncello. Shortly after that infamous incident, Mr. Devito launched is own brand of limoncello.

Last year I made my wife a lemon drop martini using limoncello that smelled like Lemon Pledge and tasted like this cleaning product, so I moved the limoncello to the back of the liquor cabinet. Last week I dusted off the bottle and attempted to use it in a new cocktail, a limoncello mint lemonade.

Prior to this recipe when I thought about mint in my food or beverages, I turned my nose up. In my world mint was reserved for toothpaste, breath mints, and chewing gum. However, I believe in expanding my horizons, so I picked up some mint at my local grocery store and set out to try something new.

This cocktail was a hit. In fact, it knocked the ball out of the park. There's a lot I like about this cocktail:
  • First, this drink just looks beautiful and refreshing. It begs you to drink it. A big batch of this cocktail in a glass pitcher would be the perfert centerpiece for a lazy afternoon with friends.
  • This cocktail tastes great. It reminds me a lot of those bottled hard lemonade drinks they sell in the liquor store. It's not overly sweet though, and it's a drink that leaves me feel refereshed.
  • The recipe is versatile. It can be adapted and morphed into a variety of cocktails. You could substitute the limoncello with rum and make a mojito. If you don't have mint leaves, you could leave them out. I actually prefer this cocktail with a limeade concentrate.
  • I know it's not hip to embrace high fructose syrup, but the lemonade concetrate makes this recipe quick to make and it helps with the flavor of the beverage. Feel free to make your own simple syrup if you choose.
Limoncello Mint Lemonade

The following recipe makes a 10-oz drink:
  • 2 tablespoons lemonade concentrate
  • 1/2 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 6 or so mint leaves
Place the above ingredients in the bottom of a glass and using a wooden spoon, muddle mint leaves with lemonade and lemon juice - this will release the mint's oils. I like the idea of muddling. Usually when I muddle things up, I'm screwing something up. It's nice to know that I can muddle something up and it's part of the process. In addition, I get a drink out of the muddling.

Top the glass with the following:
  • Ice cubes
  • 1/4 cup limoncello
  • 1/2 cup club soda
Stir and then garnish with:
  • Lemon slices and sprigs of fresh mint


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