Limoncello Time

by Steven Doyle

Popular in the citrus-growing regions along Italy’s Amalfi coast for more than a century, the digestif Limoncello makes for the perfect holiday gift. The liqueur is second in popularity only to Campari in Italy, and is a refined and genteel way to end a great meal.

Now is the time to make the elixir.  It is so simple to make, pretty much anyone of drinking age can pull this off.

You will thank us for this.  Best way to say thanks?  A bottle of Limoncello.   

15 organic lemons, well scrubbed
2 (750 ml.) bottle of very good quality 100-proof vodka
4 ½ cups sugar
5 cups water

Wash a large glass jar with lid (1-gallon size is best) with hot, soapy water. Rinse well and dry.

Scrub the lemons to remove any dirt or other substances with warm water and pat dry. Carefully peel the lemons so that no white pith remains on the peel. Place in the jar along with the vodka. Cover and let sit in a dark place at room temperature for anywhere from ten days to two months – here is where your experimenting begins. The longer that the lemon peels are infused, the better the taste will be. You will also notice the color gets more intense.

When you think the flavor has fully developed, make a simple syrup. In a large saucepan, combine the sugar and water; boil over medium-high heat until thickened, about 5 minutes. Allow to cool. Add the sugar mixture to the lemon-Vodka mixture. Cover and store.

Wash a couple of bottles and make sure that you have caps or corks to fit. Strain the alcoholic mixture through several layers of cheesecloth or through a Brita to remove all traces of peel and pour into the clean bottles. Seal tightly with the cork or cap. The bottles can be stored in a pantry or other cool spot but remember to keep one in the freezer and ready to drink.

Grapefruit may be substituted for lemon.

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Filed under Holiday Fun, Liqueur, Steven Doyle

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