Delicious Homemade Limoncello
Ahhh, the holidays. Eat, drink, eat, drink, eat, drink. Repeat. It seems to be the pattern of the season. Whether making the rounds of holiday parties or hosting your own, your friends and guests are sure to be tantalized by when you serve your own, homemade limoncello.
Limoncello is a lemon liqueur that originated in Italy over 100 years ago. It is most delicious served chilled as an after-dinner treat. It’s sweet, lemony flavor cleanses the palate and is the perfect exclamation point to a meal.
Step-by-step to delicious!
Making your own limoncello requires just two ingredients and a dollop of patience. To get started, you’ll need:
- A quart-size jar
- 4 lemons
- 2 cups of vodka. (Note: For best results, use vodka that is at least 100 proof. This will keep the limoncello from freezing and acquiring a ‘sludgy’ consistency when it is stored in the freezer.)
Using a potato peeler, peel the skins off the four lemons, taking care to get just the yellow and not the white part of the skins. Place the skins into the quart jar and pour in the 2 cups of vodka. Cover the jar and find a safe place to store it for at least 2 weeks and up to 6 weeks. (In an ‘emergency’ situation, even one week will work, but is not ideal!)
Meanwhile, you now have four peeled lemons on your hands. Squeeze the juice of all four lemons into a container and freeze until you are ready to tackle the next step.
Waiting (for limoncello) is the hardest part
After 2-6 weeks, thaw the frozen lemon juice that has been stored in the freezer. In a small saucepan, bring to a boil: 1 cup sugar and 1 cup water. (This 50/50 combination of water and sugar creates a simple syrup.) Stir until the sugar is fully dissolved and let the mixture completely cool.
Next, strain the lemon peels that have been soaking in the vodka. Add to the lemon-infused vodka the simple syrup mixture, along with the thawed lemon juice.
The limoncello creation is now stable and will only improve with time.
Bottle, freeze and enjoy
For attractive gift-giving, store the limoncello in a 500 ml bottle. (Trader Joes sells their French lemonade in an ideal container. After enjoying the lemonade, give the bottle a second life storing your limoncello. I have seen similar bottles at Ikea as well).
Limoncello is at its very best when served just out of the freezer. Surprise your guests after a meal and your popularity as a host is certain to skyrocket. Enjoy!