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When life gives you lemons...

Lemon Mint Granita

A lemon mint granita is a tart treat originating from Southern Italy that is a healthy and refreshing alternative to ice cream on a hot day. Its simplicity of ingredients consisting of only lemon, mint, water and a bit of sugar can sound a little boring right?  It’s surprisingly delicious and a great way to get rid of the old school snow cone filled with unnatural colors and sweeteners we all use to enjoy so much as kids. This version is non-alcoholic but dont worry, I have a boozy version below for you too. 


Here’s what you’ll need:


5 large Lemons

5 Cups water

4-5 tbsp sugar (depending on your desire of tartness)

1 Large mint bundle (picked and washed)


Blender or food processor

Fine mesh strainer 

Baking dish



Here’s how to do it:


Wash down your lemons and wipe them dry. Cut off the tops and the bottoms (as evenly as possible so they stand up straight). Make sure when you do this you keep the bottom in tact so the ice doesn’t leak out onto that new summer dress you just bought or your bare legs at the beach. Using a sharp pairing knife, carefully carve out the flesh and juice of the lemon. Remove the seeds, and keep the rest. Place the carved out lemon cups in the freezer. 


Next, take your clean, picked mint and add it to your blender or food processor along with the lemon flesh, water and sugar. Blend until smooth. Take your lemony-minty-delicious mixture and strain it through a fine mesh strainer to obtain a smooth liquid that will yield for an amazing granita. Pour the liquid into your baking dish and pop it in the freezer. Fluff with a fork every hour or so until its icy and flaky. 


Tip: The shallower your liquid is the faster its going to freeze if you’re eager to eat! 


Lastly, fill those lemon cups with your shaved ice and enjoy! 


Now for the booze...


Limoncello is a liquor that is an Italian staple that is typically used as a digestive at the end of a meal however, these days we’re using the liquor in lemon drops, granitas, and even in cooking! The twist to this recipe is to drop the mint and add the vodka. Maybe more your style? Try it out! 


Typically, Italians like to let the fragrant lemon peels infuse in the vodka for 40 days, but hey after about 4 or 5 days you should be good to go. 


Here’s what you’ll need:


10 Large lemons

1 (750-ml) bottle of vodka - I prefer Tito’s

3 1/2 Cup Sugar

3 1/2 Cup Water 



2 liter jars (mason jars work or even pitchers)


Note: any equal ratio of sugar to water is called a simple syrup, it is always dissolved by heating it in a pot in order to dissolve the sugar into the water 


Here’s how to do it:


Using a vegetable peeler (I recommend a Swiss peeler) remove the skin of the lemon, do this carefully so the pith does not come off with the skin. *The pith is the white, bitter part that will add an undesirable flavor to any lemon dish.* Add half the lemon peels to each of your jars and pour the vodka evenly between the two.


In a small sauce pan, make your simple syrup. Pour between two jars. Cover the liquid and let sit for at least 4-5 days but hey if you want to wait the full 40 be my guest! 


When you’re ready to enjoy, strain the peels out and enjoy!



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