Gin and juice is the quintessential summertime refresher, and this frozen variation made with Meyer lemons adds a whole new element of fun to an old favorite. It’s a little sweet, a little tart and a whole lot of cool — like an adult Slurpee! With its sunny yellow color and flecks of lemon zest, it even looks like summer. I served it in shot glasses at our recent neighborhood picnic, but it also makes a great palette cleanser between courses of a meal.
Meyer lemons are often distinguishable from regular lemons by their distinctive yellow-orange, shiny rind – almost like a mix between a lemon and an orange. The juice, while still tart, is slightly sweeter than a traditional lemon. They can be hard to find, so when I see them at my grocer, I always buy a bag or two. And since they don’t stay fresh forever, I go ahead and juice them right away and store the juice in airtight containers in the freezer. (I do the same with fresh key limes when I find them in season.) That way, when I need Meyer lemon juice (or key lime juice) for anything, I have it at my fingertips.
This is one of my favorite Meyer lemon recipes, and it gets raves every time I make it. You can serve it straight out of the freezer as a sorbet or let it rest a bit and serve it as a slushee shooter. Even people who claim not to like gin, always love these because the subtle sweetness of the Meyer lemons shines through.
Meyer Lemon & Gin Slushees
These adult slushees amp up summer's traditional favorite -- gin and juice -- with the subtle sweetness of Meyer lemons.
- 1 cup sugar
- 1/2 cup water
- 3/4 cup Meyer lemon juice
- 1 Tbl. Meyer lemon zest (or regular lemon zest)
- Several sprigs of fresh mint
- 1/8 tsp. orange flower water* (optional)
- 1.5 oz. gin
This recipe is best when run through an ice cream maker, but can be made with relative success without one.
First start by making your simple syrup. Heat the sugar and water in a pot over medium heat, stirring until the sugar is completely dissolved and the liquid is clear, about 3-4 minutes. (Note: do not boil the simple syrup, as it will begin to caramelize which changes the taste and the color. If that happens, just start over.)
Remove the simple syrup from the heat source and add the mint sprigs and lemon zest to steep. (If using fresh Meyer lemons, definitely use the Meyer lemon zest, as it possesses a delicious distinctive flavor. If using frozen Meyer lemon juice, you can substitute zest from a traditional lemon.) Do not remove the mint leaves from their stalks, as they will be easier to extract later. Cover the pot and let cool.
Once the simple syrup is room temperature, remove the mint sprigs and discard. Pour the infused simple syrup into a medium bowl or container and add the lemon juice, orange flower water (if using) and gin. It might be tempting to add more gin, but remember that the freezing point of alcohol is much, much lower that that of water, and the typical home freezer does not get cold enough to freeze alcohol, so the more gin you add the less frozen your concoction will be.
Cover and refrigerate several hours or overnight. Once the mixture is cold, pour it into your ice cream maker and run until thick and slushy. Scrape into an airtight container and place in the freezer. Stir the frozen concoction every few hours, until completely frozen, to make sure the ingredients don’t separate. (If you don’t have an ice cream maker, you can simply place the mixture in a container in your freezer, whisking regularly to blend, until it is frozen through. It will have a slightly different consistency than if it is run through an ice cream maker, but it will still taste good!)
Serve in shot glasses with or without spoons.
*Orange flower water, used to flavor many traditional Middle Eastern and Moroccan desserts, can be found in most grocery or specialty food stores next to the liquid extracts.
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