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 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.


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