Ciao everybody – I’m Allison’s younger sister, Lauren and I’m your guest blogger for today! I’m very excited to be writing this guest blog to share my love of food and delicious drinks. Who doesn’t love a good after-dinner drink that can melt away the stress of the day? For our mother, that particular after-dinner drink is the italian liqueur Limoncello. I thought this would be the perfect gift to give her for Christmas since it was unique, home-made, and most of all easy to make. Since lemons reach their peak in August, the limoncello can be started in August and be easily ready for the holidays as the perfect gift!
1.75 Liters of Vodka (Many recipes call for Everclear, if that’s too strong I would recommend Absolut)
10-15 organic lemons
5 cups water (If you prefer it to be less sweet, adjust this ratio keeping it 1 more cup of water than sugar)
4 cups sugar
Take some vodka out of the 1.75 liter bottle, or transfer the vodka to a larger sealable container if you dont want to waste it as the lemon zests you are going to be adding will add volume. Add the rind of about 10-15 lemons directly into the bottle. Use 10 lemons if you don’t want a strong taste or 15 if you want it very lemony – this can be tweaked to your preference. When getting the ”rind”, you can either use a vegetable peeler to peel off the rind of the entire lemon (be sure not to get any of the white rind with it as that will make the limoncello bitter) or you can zest each lemon with a microplane. I zested each lemon with a microplane for my limoncello.
You will definitely want to use organic lemons because they have a thicker rind and do not have as many pesticides, making a better limoncello for you. However, if organic is not an option, make sure to throughly soak the lemons to ensure no pesticides remain.
Once the rinds are added, shake the bottle thoroughly for about 5 minutes to allow the flavor to infuse. Store this mixture in a cool dry place (the refrigerator, closet, etc.) for 10 days, occasionally shaking the bottle to let the flavors really penetrate.
After 10 days it is finally time to start the last step in your limoncello making process! Start your simple syrup by adding 5 cups of water and 4 cups of sugar to a saucepan and boil until the sugar is dissolved. If you do not want your limoncello to be too sweet, you can lessen this amount to 3.5 cups water and 2.5 cups sugar; any variation will work as long as you keep the amount of water 1 cup more than the sugar. While you allow this mixture to cool, start straining your lemon infused vodka either into a micro-strainer or by using coffee filters. If using coffee filters, wet them with water first so they do not soak up any extra vodka (wouldn’t want it to go to waste!). Once your simple syrup is cooled, add it to your strained vodka and store in a cool dry place for up to 2 months. I generally do a taste test after a month and it’s usually ready by then.
After anxiously waiting a month or 2, store your limoncello in the freezer and enjoy!! This isn’t a precise recipe so tweak it to your individual taste buds but know that the finished product definitely won’t disappoint! If you’re giving it as a gift consider buying a few cute bottles to put it in and tie them with ribbon for a beautiful display! Happy Valentine’s Day!