Limoncello | 12.17.13

12.17.13

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.

Giada-Limoncello

Limoncello

Ingredients

10 lemons
1 (750-ml) bottle vodka
3 1/2 cups water
2 1/2 cups sugar

Directions

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.

limoncello swingtop bottles

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.

kitchn bottles

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.

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