An homage to the Sicilian sun. Smooth and bright with zesty lemony notes. Limoncello is an excellent edible gift for cocktail lovers or anyone who wants a quick flavor trip to Sicily. It brings forth the elements of sun and land into a sweet after dinner liquor to top a great meal. It can be used to make a great Limoncello-champagne cocktail by pairing it with a bottle of sparking wine. Traditionally in Sicily, it is often used in desserts.
Now, in all honesty, making limoncello takes planning. But other than that, nature and time do all the work. It takes days and weeks for the lemon peels to infuse their oils in the liquor. So make a large batch at once and then divide up the bounty into multiple gifts. But put a bottle aside for yourself.
1-liter or larger air tight jar
decorative bottles for limonello
12 organic lemons
1 750-ml bottle of Vodka (100+proof) or Everclear
3 1/2 cups water 2 1/2 cup organic sugar
Lemons and Vodka:
Using lemon peeler, remove the peel from the lemons in long strips, avoiding as much of the white pith as possible. The pith is bitter. We just want the peel. (Set the lemons aside for another use. Maybe lemonade for the kids.) Place the lemon peels in 1-liter or larger airtight jar. Pour the vodka/Everclear over the peels to cover and then seal the jar.
Steep the lemons in the liquor in a dark place for up to 40 days. This is how it is traditionally done in Sicily. Time strengthens the flavor profile. However, the mixture can be ready after just 4 days of steeping. The longer the better, but after 4 days you will be good to go.
Simple Sugar Syrup:
After the infusing period is over, it’s time to make the simple syrup. Stir the water and sugar in a large saucepan over a medium heat until the sugar dissolves, about 5 minutes. Cool completely.
Pour the sugar syrup over the vodka/lemon mixture. Cover and let stand at room temperature overnight.
The next day, strain the limoncello through a mesh strainer. Discard the peels. (I love to use them to clean the garbage disposal.)
Transfer the limoncello to bottles. Seal the bottles and refrigerate until cold, at least 4 hours and up to one month.