I’m starting to lose time. It feels like the last Mixology Monday was just yesterday, but it’s already here again. This month’s theme is Fruit Liqueurs, hosted by the lovely Anna at Morsels & Musings. Her “reign of terror” requires only that a booze-infused fruit fluid makes it into the drink—and really, who couldn’t use more fruit in their diet?
This recipe found me through the gorgeously photographed, criminally underutilized (by me, anyway) book Raising the Bar. The drink appealed to me immediately, the word “frappé” aside—it generally reminds me of the sort of hyper-corporate bourgeoisie café outcroppings that try to make iced coffee sound like it’s worth $5 an ounce. Once this frappé had me in its grasp, however, there was no going back. Not even when I discovered that we, in fact, had no limoncello.
Thus began the strange odyssey to find limoncello on the eastern-most edge of Hollywood—on a bike, chancing life and limb on the traffic-clogged streets, through neon supermarkets and dingy liquor stores, The Boyfriend searched but there was not a bottle of limoncello to be found. Oh, the horror! In a last-ditch effort to procure something—anything—that vaguely resembled lemon liqueur, he ducked in to the liquor store downstairs, a place we primarily go when we’re out of beer, and asked the clerk if they carry limoncello. The blank stare was not promising, but the clerk looked around and popped out of the back of the shop with a bottle: “This has a lemon on it. Will it work?”
It figures: find a liquor store in Hollywood with limoncello and what do they carry? Danny DeVito’s Premium Limoncello. The very same limoncello that he so infamously shared with George Clooney, resulting in their subsequent ejection from a bar and DeVito’s colorful appearance on “The View”. Not that I knew any of this before I started drinking, but two glasses of limoncello and down the YouTube rabbit hole I go!
2 oz gin (Hendrick’s)
2 oz limoncello
lemon, cut into quarters
lime zest, for garnish
Fill a wine glass with crushed ice and squeeze in the juice of one quarter of the lemon. Add gin and limoncello and stir; garnish with thin peels of lime zest and serve.
Hyperbole comes naturally to me but I’m fighting the urge to really go crazy with metaphors this time. Suffice it to say that, barring one small bit of tinkering on my part—I added a dash of simple syrup, as my lemons were super acidic—this drink is perfect. It’s a sitting-on-the-lawn-enjoying-a-lazy-Saturday-in-the-shade kind of drink. It’s everything you love about lemonade, plus a hint of cucumber, plus four ounces of liquor. What’s not to love? And, in the name of research, I also tried this with Tanqueray No. 10; while it is still quite good, I really have to urge you to use Hendrick’s here.
As a sidebar, no one is more surprised than I to tell you that Danny DeVito’s limoncello is good. It tastes like real lemons rather than artificial flavoring (it isn’t neon yellow!), and as an added bonus it isn’t too sweet. It’s just the right balance for exactly what limoncello is supposed to be: an digestivo. Granted we threw it all out of whack when we used it in an aperitif, but I live dangerously.