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

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Yummy! Just made this- couldn't be easier, and it's a real treat. Exotic drink for friends looking to break out from the usual margarita.


This looks heavenly, and I would happily slurp on this summer or winter. I think infusing the vodka with anise ahead of time is a great idea, which got me thinking that maybe using ouzo or pernod would be another alternative. Sue

Couscous & Consciousness

This looks heavenly, and I would happily slurp on this summer or winter. I think infusing the vodka with anise ahead of time is a great idea, which got me thinking that maybe using ouzo or pernod would be another alternative. Sue

Couscous & Consciousness

Just tried this... it's delicious, refreshing and EASY. Thank you.


That makes my mouth water! Once the weather heats up here I'm going to give it a try!


okay, i have a bottle of homemade limoncello in my freezer, i am all over this!


If you live in an area with an abundance of lemons and/or limes, I found you can place them in a Freezer Zip Loc bag and keep them in your freezer. I prefer the smaller bags so I am not letting air in every time I open the bag. I kept limes that way for almost a year.


Made this last night, no alcohol. On the hottest night of the year thus far, my husband and I both commented that we had the chills! Thanks for the refreshment - this is going into the archives.


Hi Heidi... Have you given any thought to releasing your "Cook 1.0" book as an e-book? With the success of your latest 2 books I think your devoted fans would greatly appreciate the opportunity to snag a copy of this one without having to hound the old book stores or pay an arm and a leg on E-Bay or the like. A re-issue in paperback or hardbound would be wonderful but if that is cost prohibitive I'd settle for a copy on my Kindle. Thanks so much for sharing your recipes and photos with us!! San Francisco is my favorite city and I really look forward to shots of familiar spots!!


ooh la la!!! my kind of slushie for sure. Thanks for the recipe.


I like the lemon crusher thing..have not seen it in awhile.


I like the lemon crusher thing..have not seen it in awhile.


WOW! The Lemon Anise Slush Recipe look incredible! I love, love LOVE, lemons (and of course slushies) so I'm going to give this a go. Thanks!

Shakeology Discount

The essence of the anise seeds will definitely extract into the alcohol. We make liqueurs and one of ours features anise seeds steeped in alcohol. Fennel seeds extract also -- we make an orange fennel liqueur and I'm quite tempted to make your lemon slush substituting orange and fennel and our liqueur for the finishing touch.


Jessica, it's anise seed. HS: Thanks Marla!

marla rhodes

I feel so silly for asking, but I really want to try this, and try it right so... Is this using anise seed or anise flowers? I went to my local herb store in LA (Spice Station) and I got anise seed, but then smelled anise flowers and thought I had made a mistake, so I got that. Somebody mind clarifying this for me? Thank you! xo


In Greece and Turkey, they make an alcoholic beverage using anise. You may want to experiment with that. I believe the Greek name is Ouzo and the Turkish name is Raki.


Nice! You can never go wrong with lemons!


Ooh this looks so refreshing! I am going to have to pick up some anise... it's not a spice I use a lot but I'm intrigued by that flavor combination!


so inspiring ! never thought of adding anise to any drinks. love this recipe :-)

a spoonful of yumm

I think this recipe is ... or at least looks a lot like "caipirinha" a very strong Brazilian drink with lime and sugar and a lot of ice. Where your recipe originated? Anyway, I tried your recipe and I used yogurt when I prepared it. and came out great!


I have a lemon tree in my backyard and this sounds like such an easy, refreshing, tasty way to use them all up (whether I choose water or Vodka!). Thank you!


That looks soooo refreshing! :) Thanks for sharing the recipe!


i can't wait to try these! they are the perfect summer treat.. thanks for sharing, and as always, lovely photos!


Hi Heidi, this looks amazing! And it tastes even better! I have to admit that I'm becoming a huge fan of all your recipes. You were mentioning your sister's limoncello... do you think that it would be possible for her to share the recipe? Thanks and hope to hear from you soon!


Oh Wow! Lemon and anise sound like an interesting combo. Also a huge lemon fan here. Will have to try. Thanks!


I am going to try every combination of this! Can't wait to get fresh lemons from my neighbor's tree this weekend.


someone already suggested anise hyssop leaves, which i can attest are delicious and infuse well in vodka.


Can't wait to make this. It looks so refreshing and summery! Thanks Heidi ;)


OK, I hope this isn't sacrilegious or anything, but I really wanted to make this and I didn't have any lemons or anise seeds, so I substituted. Big time. I used bottled lemon juice and anise extract. And um....it's good. I mean, REAL good. I followed the rest of your recipe to a T, only adding a bit more lemon juice and a bit less extract. I'm totally making another round tonight for dinner.


This looks incredible and so refreshing! Plus limoncello or anise liquor? Yes, please! Amazing work as always.

Natural Beauty

lemon and anise, two of my favorite flavors, sounds so refreshing. can't wait to try. thanks for the inspiration.


Heidi, the slush looks refreshing. Just perfect for summer time. Love the clicks as well.


The combo of lemon and anise sounds inspired. I bet this would make an awesome granita!

Crazy Radishes

I make a similar drink, however, we infuse one cup of chopped mint leaves, steep for 3 hours, and then strain mixture into shaved ice. No anise seeds either. So refreshing!


I also make something very similar to this but with whole lemons (quartered) and sans anise seeds. My father tought me the recipe and till this day is my favorite thirst quencher during hot summer days.

Heidi Leon Monges

We made these last night (half water, half vodka) and immediately became obsessed. On the docket for Saturday-- a grapefruit juice, tequila, and habanero combination by the pool! Thanks Heidi!


Great recipie i really like the idea and will help to me to clear a few those anise seeds i have since christmas!


What an unusual combination, I always had a love-hate relationship with aniseed flavoured drinks or foods but as I get older my tastes have changed... I might just have to give this a go. Lemons are indeed a staple in the kitchen... I could not live without them.

Nathalie @ Neigeblanche

the thought of putting anise into a drink really never occurred to me, and in combination with lemon?! so I'm really glad I cam across this post, anise is one of my favourite flavours and this looks delicious!


years ago, i made a fantastic fennel limeade, from Seattle chef Greg Atkinson. I imagine this would have a similar flavor; the licorice/citrus combination is indeed unexpected, and wonderful. this looks like a marvelous way to cool down on a hot summer's day. we'll be trying this. thanks, heidi!


Now you've got me dreaming of one of these slushies on a warm summer day. It's winter where I am now though and I couldn't bear the thought of gripping a slushie with my already-frozen fingers (as perfect as this one sounds). Will put a tab on this for the warmer months though - it would be a perfect addition to a cocktail party.

Keely aka The Richest Girl in Bondi

Oh! I most certainly have to make this! Thanks for the fantastic idea :)


This makes my mouth water. How about an anise flavored limoncello recipe? or just a limoncello recipe?


Sounds (and looks) exceptionally refreshing. Makes me wish my little Meyer tree was mature enough to give out with the year-round fruit!


I like the way Amanda at Easy Peasy thinks....


A shame. My husband doesn't like anise ... so I'll have to drink it all myself. Alas.

Amanda @ Easy Peasy Organic

Sound really refreshing. Anise rarely gets enough play.


I really need an ice cream maker! I love the lemon/anise combo...

Rocky Mountain Woman

instead of infusing vodka with anise, why don't you use pernod, ricard, or another pastis? anise is generally the dominant flavor (along with other aromatics and botanicals). if you want an anise-flavored liquor, pastis will provide a much better flavor than most diy efforts. i speak from experience!


This sounds gorgeous - I adore lemon drinks. But I'm confused (UK/US moment here, I suspect). Is anise the same as star anise? Looking online hasn't helped!


you've now inspired me to make a slushie. you, and the fact that 711 just had free slurpie day on 7/11! i just bought a juicer, so i'm leaning towards a cantaloupe-ginger slushie. BUT! I am definitely waiting and hoping it gets nice out; it's been a little dreary in NoPa lately :).

heather @ chiknpastry.com

Heidi: Do you always cut your lemons tip to tail instead of across the center? How come? They do look very photogenic that way! I love Talya B.'s idea about placing cheese inside the split and spent lemons to grill until melted! To be certain, anise and fennel seed are the same, correct? Mahalo & Aloha (lucky me with a Meyer lemon tree in the back yard!)


This lemon-anise slush looks delicious. I shall make it! :) Thank you for sharing the recipe! :)


Curious about the way you cut the lemons. Do you get more juice cutting them lengthwise instead of across the fat middle. Or?


I learned from Patricia Wells that limes are easier to juice if you slice them length-wise, instead of along the equator (as it were). Somehow it's never occurred to me that juicing lemons could be made easier, too, but your photos have me thinking. Or is there a different reason for your cutting the lemons in half the long way?


I love the first photo, with the glasses and empty lemon shells so well positioned! You mentioned limoncello, but with the anise I wonder if a swig of sambuca would also work?

molly @ mollys menu

This looks perfect for summer, Heidi. The slush looks so refreshing and a splash of limoncello makes it sound even better. I also love how you sliced and juiced your lemons-- such a simple difference but they look so pretty!


I was just about to infuse vodka with anise, but we only have expensive vodka today, and Jim would kill me. I'm going to add a bit of Sambuca, or Ricard, and keep your recipe the same. I love the flavors you love.


This looks like summer in a glass. Welcome summer. Cheers!


Heidi, I think yours is the first blog I ever encountered, a couple of years ago, and I wrote you a small fan letter then, in appreciation of your humility and good photos and food-right-up-my-alley. It's funny but in 2011, yours is still one of the few blogs that "bloink" into my inbox and don't send me scrambling for the delete button. I have gotten so tired of all those posts beginning "The Ten Things I have Learned about... (how to roll over a minute bit of content again and again, and make myself appear more important than I know I am!....") I still read your blog each time, and sometimes even print a recipe, or look at a film you have listed as a Fav. Thank you for favoring quality over quantity, and for being true to what I have come to recognize as your style!


I love Anise. Love it. Pairing it with Lemon in this recipe is awesome. It sounds great and perfect for the heatwave we are having here.

Oana from dishchronicles

I make a 'spiced' lemonade with limoncello and my home-infused anise and ginger vodka. Served with a sprig of rosemary and a splash of club soda, it is my favorite summer cooler. I do believe, however, that this jewel will supplant that drink... or at least partner with it. Thanks, as always, for the beautiful photos and wonderful ideas!


ps. I love love love those little champagne glasses!


This is one of those recipes that elicits one immediate response: Oooooh!


I might have to break down and buy a blender...


Anise Hissup and Lemon Balm seem like they could be worked in somehow, maybe with a simple syrup (using muscavado sugar like your blackberry limeade). Thoughts?

Rupal in Brooklyn

Wow, this sounds delicious. Never would have thought of the lemon and anise combination. Now we just need some warm weather in Vancouver and I will give this a whirl in the blender.


I am so happy you posted this - I just so happen to have a bag of lemons lying around, and friends coming over in a few hours. This will be the perfect drink to serve on this hot, dry summer day.


Wow! This looks incredible and super refreshing! To recall my organic chemistry knowledge from college, most spices are made up of aromatic compounds that create their flavor. Aromatics don't dissolve well in water but are highly alcohol and fat soluble!


Yum! And then I'm going to take the emply lemon halves and put a piece of mozzarella in each one. Sprinkle with chilli flakes and any herbs you like (basil's good) and put on the barbecue until the cheese goes soft.

Talya B

as re: anise seeds infusing vodka - at the end of last summer, i infused gallons of vodka with various herbs and seeds from my garden. i found that the longer you had anise or coriander in the vodka, the weirder (and ultimately unpalatable) the vodka tasted. my suggestion would be to infuse it at the most over night. by the way, lemon verbena, while heavenly in many things, makes a terrible vodka if you leave it in the vodka for longer than a day. same with basil. i found that only berries and peppers can withstand a long (2 weeks - month) soak in the booze


Sounds like you've invented Drambuie. Hurray for the Shandy and this recipe will be a great addition to our summer line up of refreshments.

Jan Crostonhodder

So refreshing and perfect for this hot summer day. Thanks Heidi!

The Healthy Apple

Heidi, I just wanted to let you know that I made your Black Pepper Tempeh with cauliflower last night from Everyday... It was soooo good!! I used tofu and it never tasted better!!!

janice AMSTER

This looks so refreshing! And I love the idea of adding the anise seeds as a twist. This seems perfect for those (rare) hot summer days in SF :)

Anjali Shah

Yum! I don't think I've ever had lemon and anise together but it sounds awesome.

Heidi @ Food Doodles

i'm a big fan of the anise and grapefruit combination... i bet this would be great with grapefruit juice as well! though you'd have to toy with the sugar/water amounts a bit...


Yum, yum! I make limoncello....but this sounds GREAT! Wonderful pics and post...as usual!


I very much like taste thought of anise and lemons. I use star anise with carrots, in a soup, which is fantastic and originates from Patricia Wells' "Provence Cookbook"

Roger Stowell

what an unexpected twist with the anise and wonderful use for leftover lemons (and vodka..) from making limoncello!


I'm in! I love to add a little kombucha and fresh mint to my summer slushies. A little zing!

Meghan (Making Love In The Kitchen)

Sounds tangy and refreshing. A perfect way to beat the summer heat.

Jen @ keepitsimlefoods

This sounds lovely; I wonder if anise hysop leaves might also work?


I think infusing vodka with anise seeds is a great idea. You have to give it a try, I know I will.


:o) Thanks to the comments for putting me straight, I read anise and assumed it was star anise not fennel... If England's summer ever gets going I'm definately giving this a try!


I've infused vodka with anise before and you don't need to let it steep very long to get a pronounced flavor. All day and then overnight with some crushed anise would probably be fine. I've let it steep for about 2 weeks and the flavor is SUPER intense. HS: Thanks for the tip Christina.


Ooo, what a perfect treat for a hot summer day! I agree, there is something amazing about lemons, they can dress up so many different kinds of food :), Miriam@Meatless Meals For Meat Eaters


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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