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 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


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