You know that saying, “when life gives you lemons, make lemonade.” Well, for this holiday, use those lemons to make Limoncello. Limoncello is a lemon liqueur made of lemon peels and vodka. When I first came across Limoncello, I thought it was something fancy and only Italians were privileged enough to know the formula. Well I came across a few recipes and realized how simple it is to make your own limoncello.
A while back, I posted a recipe I learned in culinary school for making vanilla extract. Well, yeah it’s that simple. All you need are lemon peels (no piths…white layer under the peel) and a good, stiff vodka.
The Kitchn suggests 100 proof, or higher grain-alcohol, for best results. The reason why is purely scientific. The higher proof the alcohol, the more flavor will be extracted to yield a smoother flavor.
One recipe that was easiest to follow was Giada De Laurentiis.
1 (750-ml) bottle vodka
3 1/2 cups water
2 1/2 cups sugar
Using a vegetable peeler, remove the peel from the lemons in long strips (reserve the lemons for another use). Using a small sharp knife, trim away the white pith from the lemon peels; discard the pith. Place the lemon peels in a 2-quart pitcher. Pour the vodka over the peels and cover with plastic wrap. Steep the lemon peels in the vodka for 4 days at room temperature.
Stir the water and sugar in a large saucepan over medium heat until the sugar dissolves, about 5 minutes. Cool completely. Pour the sugar syrup over the vodka mixture. Cover and let stand at room temperature overnight. Strain the limoncello through a mesh strainer. Discard the peels. Transfer the limoncello to bottles. Seal the bottles and refrigerate until cold, at least 4 hours and up to 1 month.
Since it’s the holiday season, this recipe is good for hostess gifts or little guest take-aways. Use swing-top bottles to store and share. They keep well and look presentable too.
If you want to be fancy, try using specialty labels and personalize them to your specifications. I think anyone would be glad to get this gift.
They can sip the limoncello on its own over ice, or in a specialty cocktail. Try adding the limoncello to sparkling wine or sparkling water.