This summer has been exceptionally hot and humid day after day. A wonderful way to cool off besides air conditioning is enjoying an icy cold glass of homemade lemonade. My grandsons, “The Sunshine Boys”, love the lemonade my daughter makes. It is so refreshing and made with only 3 simple ingredients… lemons, water, and sugar! So, while the heat of the summer will be with us for several more weeks/months, mix up a pitcher full of delicious, icy cold lemonade and feel refreshed!
1¼ cups sugar (1/4 cup Swerve confectioners sweetener may be substituted)
4½ cups water
lemon slices for garnish
In a small saucepan combine 1½ cups of water and sugar and bring to a boil. Stir until all sugar is dissolved. Remove from heat and let cool. ( cover and put in the refrigerator to speed up the cooling process)
Strain the squeezed lemon juice through a fine-mesh sieve into a 2-quart pitcher.
Add the remaining 3 cups of water and 3/4 of the simple syrup that has been cooling. Stir well and taste. Adjust to taste with either more water or more simple syrup.
Refrigerate until ready to serve.
When ready to serve, add ice to a tall glass and fill with lemonade. Garnish each glass with a lemon slice and a sprig of mint leaves. Enjoy!
Notes: Adults Only-Vodka can be added for a refreshing cocktail 😋
For a keto-friendly version, we used Swerve confectioners sweetener in place of sugar.
After our trip to Italy in 2018 we came back with an abundance of inspiration, one of which was making our own Limoncello as we became so fond of drinking it at the end of each meal while traveling throughout Italy. We even bought lemon trees to grow our own lemons ( photo on left shows the beautiful flower lemon trees produce). We’re not sure if they will ever bear fruit but we are trying. Limoncello has its roots in southern Italy, more specifically, the Amalfi coast, Capri & Sorrento. Of course you can buy it in any liquor store for less money but where’s the fun in that?
While at Barbara’s monthly neighborhood bowling night she was sharing her new-found love of Limoncello with the girls. Jane said “Lets have a Limoncello Party at your house” and so we did! The night was filled with fun and laughter despite the many spills and messy kitchen… but it was worth it. My only regret was not having enough room to invite the whole neighborhood.
The bottle should be kept in the freezer along with some shot glasses as Limoncello is best served in frozen glasses. It is served like this all over Italy. The colder the liqueur the smoother the taste.
Note: I decided I wanted to grow my own fennel to make delicious fennel liqueur; which we also sampled in Naples at a farmhouse dinner. Although the flavor is different from Limoncello, it’s just as good. So Jane, Teresa and I planted the fennel seeds. We watched the seedlings grow big & strong then planted them outside in a side garden. They were doing beautifully and even survived Hurricane Florence but low and behold they didn’t survive the deer!!!!!!! We will try again. 🤞
Using a small sharp knife, peel off the lemon zest as thin as possible avoiding the white pith, which is bitter.
Place all the lemon peels directly into the bottle of alcohol.
Leave to macerate for a minimum of 4 weeks or more in a dark closet. Keep bottle our of direct sunlight.
After maceration is complete, prepare the sugar syrup.
Mix water and sugar in a saucepan on medium heat. Continue to stir until sugar is completely dissolved.
Bring syrup to a simmer until boiling. Remove from heat and allow to cool completely, about 1 hr.
In a large saucepan or container big enough add the liter of alcohol.
Continuously stirring, start adding the sugar syrup. Once you’ve added 4 cups, taste it. The Limoncello will be pretty strong. Add more sugar syrup and taste again. Add more sugar syrup for a milder taste, or reduce it for a stronger taste. It is not recommended to dilute the alcohol base too much. Authentic Italian homemade limoncello is about 38% vol or 76 Proof.
Once you’ve reached the perfect flavor, bottle your limoncello in glass bottle using a funnel.
Always store limoncello in the freezer! It’ll have an amazing “creamy” taste. Fresh made limoncello reaches its perfection in a few days after bottling.
The ladies of Meadow Park “Distillery”: Jane, Ellen, Stephanie, Vickie, Lois, Janis, Diane, Barbara. Teresa was taking the pictures!