Today is technically Spring! But, as is often the case, New York and the greater northeast region for that matter, has not quite gotten the memo. I heard some super mean rumor about it snowing this weekend. Harhar, real funny, guys. Psych! I’m not laughing. Good thing I have my very own batch of liquid sunshine to trick me into thinking I’m really on a boat in Capri with Lolita glasses heading to some blue lagoon.
Limoncello is a sweet, lemon liqueur native to Italy, and is made with lemon peels, sugar and high proof grain alcohol. The commercial stuff is often very cloyingly sweet and doesn’t have that fresh zing that you might get from the home made version. Luckily, this is one of the easiest liqueurs to make at home. It just takes a little time…
I am #blessed to have recently participated in the making of this Homemade Sunny Delight, Booze Edition, while also snagging a bottle for myself. All because my dear friend Catharine is slightly obsessed with all things Limoncello. She’s made it a ton, but this time around, I thought I’d hop onto her lemon train and ride out these last couple of months to see the process firsthand from start to finish. And, I was able to document each of the three steps in order to share it with all of you!
This recipe was adapted by Catharine “from her friend Ryan’s Dad’s recipe, which he got from an Italian professor at an academic conference in Naples.” I think I got that right. I know that sounds pretty far removed, but I saw the original recipe and charming note from the Italian professor, and the basic recipe is pretty intact. Catharine just lengthened the time that the alcohol and lemon peel would hang out together. She found, through research, that it seemed a few weeks was average for that stage.
Catharine’s Limoncello Recipe
What you’ll need:
large glass cannister
zest of 10 lemons (rinsed, ideally organic)
750 ml high proof grain alcohol
2.5 cups water + 2 cups sugar = combine and boil to make a syrup. Cool.
Try to peel the lemon skin very thin, without getting the pith – the white part closer to the fruit, to prevent bitterness.
After all the lemons are peeled, add the alcohol.
Label and then put in a dark, cool spot for two weeks.
Make sure to label it with the date you want to retrieve it as a reminder!
Two weeks later, your alcohol should be fully infused with all of those lemon peels.
Remove the lemon peels from the alcohol and place in a strainer.
Once all of the peels are removed, strain the rest of the lemon zest from the alcohol.
Add the cooled sugar syrup to the infusion.
Store the liqueur at least one month, in a dark spot for all of the flavors to mellow.
After a month…
It’s time to bottle!
Look how beautiful this all turned out!
Limoncello is best served VERY cold. I have most often had it as a digestif – an after dinner treat, but I love to use quality limoncello as a cocktail ingredient. In fact, it wasn’t long after I brought my freshly bottled elixir home with me, that I got cracking on a cocktail. So…stay tuned. Get ready for the most delicious Lemon Drop you’ve ever tasted. This isn’t your college bar’s version!