Welcome to summer, at long last! This year the first day of summer also coincides with Father’s Day (and my parents’ 40th wedding anniversary – Happy Anniversary!). Now that the weather is warming up and casual entertaining is moving outdoors, a sweet-tart adult lemonade is the perfect drink to get festivities rolling.
This refreshing version of lemonade draws its inspiration from the idyllic notion of Tuscan afternoons amongst the olive and lemon groves, sipping chilled limoncello. Limoncello is a lemony Italian liqueur that is actually from the Amalfi coast in Southern Italy but it is enjoyed throughout Italy and around the world. I have to admit to shamelessly adopting the ‘Tuscan’ descriptor to make it sound more appealing. It’s a bit of a joke that anything labelled ‘Tuscan’ tends to sell, whether or not it actually has anything to do with Tuscany (As an example, see ’Tuscan’ frozen pizzas, or an article from the satirical magazine The Onion: “Area Woman Will Eat Anything with ‘Tuscan’ in Name“). Call it what you will, this is a great summer sipper that is perfect as an afternoon drink or pre-dinner aperitif.
This can be made for 2 people, or served by the pitcher for a crowd – I have given instructions for both. You can also lighten it up by using sparkling water in place of the prosecco/sparkling wine.
Helpful tip: Use fresh lemon juice instead of the bottled kind if possible. To get the most juice from a lemon, roll it on the countertop before cutting it open, pressing down on it so the insides break up a bit. Keep lemons at room temperature instead of in the fridge.
Makes 2 drinks – see below for pitcher proportions to serve a crowd
- 3 oz. limoncello liqueur
- 2 oz. fresh lemon juice
- About 200 to 250 ml / approximately 1 cup (8 oz.) prosecco, cava or other inexpensive sparkling wine to top drink (substitute sparkling water for a lighter drink)
- Lemon slices to garnish
- Fill a cocktail shaker with ice and add limoncello and lemon juice. Shake well and strain into lowball glasses or small wine glasses.
- Top with prosecco/cava/sparkling water and garnish with a lemon slice.
- Serve with a dish of olives, if desired.
To Make a Pitcher of Lemonade:
The proportions for 2 drinks are 3:2:8 so you can adjust it accordingly for a group. For 8 people, you would need:
- 12 oz. (1-1/2 cups) limoncello
- 8 oz. (1 cup) fresh lemon juice
- 32 oz. (4 cups) sparkling wine or water
- Instead of mixing in a cocktail shaker, just mix in a pitcher, add a few ice cubes and chill in the fridge until serving. Cut lemons into slices and toss into the pitcher. Garnish glasses with lemon slices for serving, if desired.
Cheers and Enjoy!