Limoncello is a bright and refreshing Italian liqueur traditionally served as the end of a meal, but I enjoy sipping on this chilled delight anytime of the day. My first Limoncello was last year in Missouri when I went to an Italian restaurant with a colleague now friend from my AutPlay Workshop. That drink was heavenly, but it wasn’t just a limoncello. It was mixed with something else to make a magnificent drink!
When I thought about what kind of cocktail I wanted to make for mother’s day, I thought about that Limoncello. When I looked it up I couldn’t believe how easy it was to make! But of course I had to take it up a notch. Since it wouldn’t be too difficult to whip up a batch of this stuff, why not make it extra special with a little flavoured syrup? I remembered the blackberries I had in the fridge and immediately thought to make a blackberry syrup to mix with it.
But I did mess up my original intention. So what had happened was, the Smirnoff was only one pint and my bottle was a recycled wine bottle, so when I poured the vodka in it looked like a quarter cup of liquid in that giant bottle. I instantly knew I had to switch to a smaller bottle. So I grabbed the 8 oz glass bottle I had (because I couldn’t find the one I really wanted in my collection) and poured it in there. I was almost the perfect amount. Then after I topped it off with about 1/4 cup of syrup, and took the photo, I realised something ghastly. My ratio of vodka to life-preserving non-alcoholic syrup was WAAAAAAAAAY off. There was so much vodka in this it wasn’t safe for human consumption!
Thinking quickly on my feet, I put the mixture and the remaining syrup in a slightly larger container with a lid, then added a can of Sprite. Is there anything that Sprite cannot fix, cause this stuff is just a life saver! And trust me that completely transformed this drink! While you definitely still get the kick of the alcohol, the refreshing lemon and blackberry sweetness that coats it makes this the perfect, “Not now, Mommy needs a break, drink”. So whip up a batch for your best mommy friend and ignore the kids for a bit. Because from the first sip, you’ll be singing, “Mmmmm!” This is definitely a refreshing spring drink!
empty bottle (about 1 litre)
vodka (I used 1 pint Smirnoff vodka, but any kind will work)
1/2 cup blackberry simple syrup
Start by peeling your lemons. Get comfortable, this can take quite a while. Next, use a sharp pairing knife to remove as much as the pith (the white inside layer) from the peels as you can. This step can be avoided if you only peel the top layer like I did.
Next, fill your empty bottle with your lemon peels. Don’t worry if you have to twist or bend them to get them to fit — we’re after their flavour, so releasing the extra oils actually helps.
Now for the fun part! Carefully pour your vodka over the lemon peels, using the funnel. Use as much or as later as you want for maximum taste. Remember that you’re pairing this with lemons so you don’t want it to be so strong that it’s better.
Make a quick simple syrup on the stove top by bring your water (1 cup) berries (1/2 cup) and sugar (1/2 cup) to a boil and stirring until completely dissolved. Mash the berries with a potato masher. Turn the stove off and allow the flavours to mingle for 10 minutes. Allow to cool completely before straining the seeds out (you can use any colander with fine holes for this) and add to the bottle. Top off with vodka and close tightly.
Shake, shake, shake it up! Let your limoncello stand at room temperature overnight and strain, or for a stronger lemony flavor, give it to your mother with all the beautiful lemon peels inside and let her choose how long she wants to let it sit before enjoying.