Strawberry Limoncello Lemonade
|July 23, 2015||Posted by Tracy Knutsen under Drinks, Try Something New!|
We’d been enjoying the tremendous beauty and dramatic views of the Amalfi Coast and its mountains plunging into the sea. This is a little piece of the world where one is pretty much rendered speechless and left with a mouth hanging open wide enough for a seagull to land in it. We learned from our guide that the Sirens in Homer’s Odyssey lured sailors to their doom on a rocky island by singing. Locals believe that the island lies just off the Amalfi Coast. That, my friends, explains a lot!
While the coast is littered with gems – little towns and villages glued perfectly to the sides of the mountains – we were headed for Amalfi and Positano. Amalfi was once a maritime superpower, there are now only about 5,000 residents and you can probably walk across the entire town in less than 20 minutes. Our guide explained that most of the city and its people slid into the sea during an earthquake in the 1300’s. Crazy.
After a long and winding journey down the mountain, Olivia and I tumbled out of our tour van and onto a pier in the town of Amalfi. We stretched, stood tall, turned our backs to the ocean to see where we had finally landed and gasped. How are places like this even real?
Happy for a break from driving, we were given some time to bounce around Amalfi. After driving past grove after grove of the famous Amalfi lemons, we were determined to take a bit of that home with us. Lemon is one of my vary favorite flavors! We knew that the fresh produce itself would not be allowed back into the United States, so we opted for the infused variety – limoncello.
This is a beautiful cathedral in the piazza in Amalfi. One of the few buildings that remain from before the earthquake. Best part is that a fantastic limoncello lives right next door!
Limoncello is thick, sweet, potent and full of the fresh, zingy flavor of the famous fruit. It’s the region’s traditional and much-loved lemon liqueur, and served as an after-dinner digestivo. As it turns out, some of the best limoncello in the world was being produced right there in Amalfi at the family-run Antichi Sapori d’ Amalfi.
After asking lots of questions in horrendously broken Italian, the owner sent us across the piazza with his son to their main store where they make all of the limoncello. He showed us the production area and explained how they make their famous liqueur and then we got to try some!
Look at this kid’s gorgeous smile! Isn’t he fabulous?
We purchased our treasures and made our way back out to the water’s edge. The day was so amazing and we still had Positano to look forward to an hour up the coast. We grabbed glasses of a yummy blend of fresh squeezed orange and lemon juice and hopped back in the van for more jaw-dropping Amalfi coast.
I have been completely inspired by our refreshing limoncello and found that it gives a fabulous kick to already heavenly strawberry lemonade. It’s been so hot this summer, this concoction is a welcome glassful of chill. Each sip reminds me of that breezy, beautiful day in the Amalfi Coast sunshine with my sweet daughter.
Strawberry Limoncello Lemonade
Fresh strawberries, lemon juice and simple syrup mixed with a punchy limoncello – mama mia!
- 1½ cups water
- 1½ cups sugar
- 2 cups fresh lemon juice – about 8 or 10 lemons
- 2 cups fresh strawberry puree (strained or not – it’s your preference)
- ½ cup limoncello*
*Limoncello is pretty easy to find locally at liquor stores or specialty shops. Look for good quality, perhaps one made in Italy or a small batch, artisan variety that is made with care. This one, for example, is from Sorrento and this limoncello also uses the regional lemons. It’s also very simple to make your own. Just take stroll around Pinterest for a bunch of different recipes!
- Make a simple syrup by adding the water and sugar to a medium saucepan and heating the ingredients until the sugar fully dissolves. Remove from heat and let cool.
- After cooling, pour the simple syrup into a pitcher along with the lemon juice, strawberry puree and the limoncello. Stir to blend well.
- Add additional water and ice to taste.
- Serve well-chilled, with or without ice.
We added some fresh chopped mint leaves to this batch for a nice layer of smooth, but it’s just as delicious without them.
We’ve had this several times this summer and tried a few different things.
- Substitute peach puree for the strawberries.
- Substitute blueberry puree for the strawberries (this one had to be strained before adding it.)
- If you’re like me, you forget to zest your lemons before squeezing them. Well, the one time I remembered, I put strips of lemon zest in the simple syrup as it cooked, giving the whole batch a tremendous lemony soul!
- Rather than puree the strawberries, freeze them and blended with the other ingredients to make a slushie – this one reminded me of a daiquiri.
- Add a splash of vodka to any of these options to bump it up a bit more!