(This recipe is part of the “End of Summer Picnic Experience“)
Riding Bikes and Drinking Wine
One thing you do not want to do is ride a bike ten miles to a winery, enjoy some of their wine (okay, a lot of their wine) and get on your bike again to ride back. Now don’t get me wrong. I love riding bikes and I love drinking wine. But it makes it quite difficult to do both within a few hours.
Hermann, Missouri, A Charming German Settlement in the Midwest
Tucked away in the middle of the United States is a quaint little town called Hermann, Missouri. In my opinion, it could be considered the wine capital of the Midwest. It is a charming little German settlement that hosts a dozen or more wineries. Each setting holds a picturesque and perfect place to have a picnic, relax and refresh.
A Girl’s Getaway
So, the girls in my family chose this little spot in Missouri to have a weekend getaway. And it did not disappoint. After a three-hour train ride, we took to the streets and explored its nooks and crannies, tasted wine (lots of it), indulged in good food and laughed. Boy, did we laugh!
Picnics, Wineries & Bicycles
But the part of our trip I will not forget is the day we rented bikes, packed a picnic and rode out to one of those adorable little wineries. We grabbed a few bottles of wine, threw down our blanket and drank in not only the wine but the gorgeous country view that surrounded us. We enjoyed a few more bottles, then it hit us, the realization that we needed to head back since our train would be leaving soon. The ten miles to the winery was a breeze. The ten miles back, well, you can only imagine, was long and grueling. But well worth the laughs after it was all said and done. And, oh, the stories we will tell (OR NOT!).
If I had thought ahead, Limoncello Margaritas (see recipe below), would have been a great addition to our girls get-away. Maybe next time. I did want to include it here though because it is such a refreshing citrus drink and would be perfect for a picnic.
The key to Limoncello Margaritas is the homemade limoncello which is an Italian lemon liqueur. Limoncello is one of the most popular drinks in Italy, second only to Campari and served chilled many times as an after-dinner drink.
Limoncello is not a last minute throw together kind of drink. It’s a bit of a chore, but the outcome is much more appealing than the store-bought kind unless of course, you get it directly from Italy. I used the peels of 20 lemons and let them infuse the vodka for about a month. Make sure and remove all the white pith of the peel otherwise it will give the drink a bitter taste.
Limoncello Margaritas have an Italian lemon twist compared to the limes of a traditional margarita. It’s a nice change of pace if you’re looking for something a little different. I came across the idea to use frozen lemonade concentrate from Barb Kiebel’s site, Creative Culinary. She has lots of other great margarita recipes that you can find here. For my Limoncello Margaritas, I still used freshly squeezed lemon juice because I love the added tartness it brings to the cocktail.
End of Summer Picnic ExperiencePrint
A chilled Italian after-dinner drink. It is one of the favorite drinks in Italy, second only to Campari. Lemon peels are infused into Vodka for about a month. A perfect sipping drink.
- 15-20 Organic Lemons
- 750 Liter of Good Vodka, at least 80 proof
- 3 cups water
- 3 cups sugar
- Using a vegetable peeler, peel the lemons making sure to remove all the pith with a sharp knife.
- Add lemon peels and vodka to a jar. Cover and let sit for 4 weeks.
- Once the vodka has set and been infused, bring the water and sugar to boil in a large saucepan. Reduce heat and cook for 6-8 minutes until the mixture thickens.
- Let the simple syrup cool completely before adding it to the vodka and lemon peels. Let it sit overnight at room temperature.
- Strain the limoncello through a mesh sieve. Discard the lemon peels. Keep in the freezer.
- Choose organic lemons otherwise the wax on the lemons will not release the full flavor and color.
- Use a sharp vegetable peeler and be careful to only remove the yellow peel. The white pith of the lemons will cause the limoncello to become bitter. Therefore, use a sharp knife to remove any of the pithy residues from the peels.
- The longer the vodka and lemon peels sit, the more color and flavor it will have. I would suggest at least 10 days.
The Limoncello takes this margarita to a whole new level. Delightfully refreshing and definitely lemony. Be careful though, there is a lot of alcohol in this little power-packed drink.
- Prep Time: 5 minutes
- Total Time: 5 minutes
- Yield: 4
- 4 oz Homemade Limoncello (see above recipe)
- 4 oz Silver Tequila
- 4 oz Triple Sec
- 4 oz Fresh Squeezed Lemon Juice (about 2 lemons)
- 1/2 cup Frozen Concentrate Lemonade
- Margarita Salt or Sugar for the Rim
- Sliced Lemons and mint for Garnish (optional)
- Combine all the above ingredients except salt/sugar, sliced lemons, and mint in a medium-sized pitcher. Stir well.
- Set out 2 saucers: one with a little bit of water and one with salt or sugar (depending on which you like better). Dip the rim of 4 margarita glasses in the water and then into the salt/sugar.
- Add crushed ice to each glasses. Pour in the Margarita mixture. Place a sliced lemon on top along with a couple small mint leaves for garnishment.
- Serving Size: 1 Margarita Glass
- Calories: 329
- Sugar: 37 g
- Sodium: 0 mg
- Fat: 0 g
- Saturated Fat: 0 g
- Unsaturated Fat: 0 g
- Trans Fat: 0 g
- Carbohydrates: 39 g
- Fiber: 0 g
- Protein: 0 g
- Cholesterol: 0 mg