Lemon Anise Slush Recipe

This lemon anise slush is one way I use up the fresh lemon juice I have leftover from all those lemons I zest. Adapted from a recipe in a 2004 issue of Gourmet magazine.

Lemon Anise Slush

I tend to go heavy on the lemon zest around here. Those of you who have been visiting for a while have likely noticed. Most of the time I use the corresponding lemon juice in ice water, sparkling water, or salad dressing. Nothing too exciting. But a number of you have asked if I do anything interesting with the stockpile of lemons they rightly assume I accumulate. So I thought I'd share this lemon anise slush recipe with you. Adapted from a recipe in an old issue (2004?) of Gourmet magazine, I make it on the nicest summer days here in San Francisco.

Lemon Anise Slushy Recipe

The thing that makes this special is the hint of unexpected anise flavor which pairs nicely with refreshing lemon. It's one variable I keep constant here. That said, there are a number of ways to approach this quencher. The original recipe calls for either water, or vodka (if you're not messing around) as the base. I tend to make this as a mid-day treat and find that water works great. Yogurt is an alternative if you're up for something creamier and more substantial. Or(!) a pilsner in place of the water takes its cue from a shandy, which I love. My sister makes me limoncello from her lemon tree (Heather, I'm running dangerously low!), and a small splash of that to finish things off here is lemon-kissed heaven. Optional, but if you happen to have some on hand, give it a try.

This is the sort of thing I make over and over, and tweak and make notes as I go. I have one more idea related to the anise seeds that I haven't had a chance to explore yet. I think I want to try to let the seeds sit in the 3/4 cup / 180ml vodka ahead of time (hours? overnight? couple days?). I think the seeds are alcohol-soluble, and might infuse the vodka nicely. Then proceed with the recipe as written. Don't fault me if I'm off the mark here :)...but let me know if you give it a try.

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Lemon Anise Slush

I like to crush the anise seeds a bit with my mortar and pestle before adding them to the blender, with the idea that it makes it easier for the blender to break down the seeds a bit. But I'm not actually sure it helps, and think of it more of an optional step than anything.

1/2 cup fresh lemon juice, plus more to taste
1/3 cup sugar or honey, plus more to taste
3/4 teaspoon anise seeds

1 cup water or yogurt (vodka or pilsner for adult version)

ice cubes, to fill blender
2 tablespoons limoncello, optional but excellent!

Blend juice, sugar or honey, and seeds in a blender until the seeds break up quite a bit, at least thirty seconds. Longer if needed.

Add the water (or vodka, yogurt, pils), and enough ice to fill the blender. Blend until smooth. I sometimes need to add more water, to thin things out a bit and keep the blender going - do so a bit at a time. Depending on your blender, you might also need to stop on occasion to scrape the sides of the blender to get an even slush. Adjust for sweetness and lemon juice as you go. Serve immediately.

Serves 4-6.

Prep time: 5 minutes

If you make this recipe, I'd love to see it - tag it #101cookbooks on Instagram!

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I'm loving the Pilsner idea!

Emma Galloway

Incredible! I think I'd prefer to make about a 40 gallons of this, pour it in a tub and soak in it for an hour. And then take a little spoon and begin digging my way out, through my mouth. Okay I'm weird. Sorry.

Bev Weidner

They look so refreshing. I would probably have to substitute thyme for the anise although I would probably give it a try first. Lovely recipe.

Laura @ SweetSavoryPlanet

So beautiful, Heidi. I love anything with anise----it's one of those things that people profess to hate (along with fennel), because they think it's candy-black-licorice flavor. But if it's done right, it's such a delicate, grown-up taste. Gorgeous.


I love anything in slush form. These look wonderful!

Blog is the New Black

i'm a little more than obsessed with all things lemon right now...this sounds like a perfect summer cooler!

Heather (Heather's Dish)

This sounds so refreshing! Yum!


Two of my favorite flavors: lemon & anise! Sounds so good. Love the idea of a slush- so refreshing in the heat of summer.

la domestique

Oh what a perfect, refreshing thing for summer!

Simply Life

Looks Delicious! I've been making strawberry lemonade slushes every day to cool off. I think they're the treat of the summer! Can't wait to try this one.

The Healthy Hipster

What a fabulous flavor combo. Gorgeous!

Jessica @ How Sweet

Oh, this is so gorgeous Heidi! I love the ease and summer freshness of the citrus paired with the delicate liquorice fragrance of anise. Brilliant!

Kelly at Inspired Edibles

I love this. The versatility of the recipe is reason enough to love it but as I always have lemon and lime on hand I'm constantly looking for ways to use them up before they turn. This will most certainly be a new favorite. I'm thinking of ways to turn into a great post-workout recovery treat, as well. Thank you!

JL goes Vegan

I guess a shot of ouzo instead of vodka and aniseed would do the trick too :-) HS: Great idea!


It sounds like the perfect way to cool down on a hot summer's day and such a wonderful combination of flavours. Thank you Heidi.


Hmm, I wonder if my blender is up to this. It's the kind of one that you have to shake manically to try to make a paste of something. but maybe! I have yoghurt in the fridge...and lemons are everywhere.. it looks pretty perfectly refreshing, delicious and low fat to be honest :D


This sounds so amazingly refreshing. I have fond memories of heading out on a hot summer's evening to get a lemon granita to cool me down, but this sounds even better.

Felice - All That's Left Are The Crumbs

This looks delicious - and the combo of lemon, anise and vodka makes me want to try it this weekend!


Heidi I can almost taste (or smell) the flavors from here! And I know this sounds weird, but I bet if I had a head cold or sinus issues or throat things going on, the fennel + lemon + honey + icy + maybe some vodka :) would make me feel tons better. Sort of like an anecdote for summer colds or sinus issues. Sorry that was so random and of course it would be great to enjoy...without a summer cold. haha! :)

Averie @ Love Veggies and Yoga

So inspiring! I've never thought of combining lemon and anise, it sounds deliciously fragrant. I’m thinking of adapting the recipe to make frozen yogurt or sherbet (just purchased an ice cream maker), and will definitely serve it with limoncello (got a nice bottle on our last trip to Italy). Thank you for sharing.


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