Cuisine at home magazine in Des Moines, Iowa, one of the first recipes I developed was Limoncello Mint Lemonade. The recipe was published in April 2008 on the back page section called Grand Finale. It was the first time I had tasted Limoncello - a delicious Italian lemon liquor, syrupy and bright with lemon.
When developing the recipe, I immediately thought of my favorite drink, the mojito, and decided to reinvent it with Limoncello as the main ingredient. After numerous trials and taste tests (can you believe I got to do that at work and get paid for it?) I came up with a refreshing minty cocktail, sweetened with frozen lemonade and fizzed with club soda.
Fast forward three years. On a cold, dark, rainy Seattle evening, I was on my way to attend a cocktail party. I wanted to remake the Limoncello Mint Lemonade. The only problem was that I did not have Limoncello. Carri, the host of the party, generously offered the use of her vodka and that is how the Frozen Lemonade and Vodka Cocktail with Mint was born.
Frozen Lemonade and Vodka Cocktail with Mint
1 container frozen lemonade (12 ounces)
1 cup mint leaves, tightly packed
Juice of 2 large lemons
1 1/2 cups vodka
Lemon-Lime Sparkling Soda (I like Fresca or Squirt)
Mint sprigs for garnish
1. Combine lemonade, mint and lemon juice in a large pitcher. Using a muddler (or a wooden spoon), bruise the mint leaves to release the aroma, and combine with lemonade and lemon juice. Add vodka to the pitcher and stir to combine.
2. Add ice to a serving glass and top with the lemonade-vodka mixture. Add a splash or two of lemon-lime sparkling soda. Gently stir and garnish with a mint sprig. Serve immediately.
The pitcher of lemonade-vodka mix can serve anywhere from 10-16 drinks, depending on how thirsty you are.
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