“The bad news is…this is the last of our limoncello. Can you help us out with that?”
Limoncello is a classic Italian digestif, served chilled in a small glass or ceramic cup after a meal. This tangy lemon liqueur has been wildly popular in Italy since around 1900 and has enjoyed a surge in worldwide appreciation in recent years not just as a digestif, but as a sweet and sour ingredient for many cocktails.
Making your own limoncello is remarkably easy and it’ll score you big style points when tending bar during your own cocktail hour. I gave my parents a bottle of this homemade elixir a couple of years ago and they return to the well a couple of times a year for a refill, claiming it tastes better than anything they found while traveling through Italy. I suspect the home delivery plays some part in this claim. In any case, what kind of son would I be if I didn’t keep my parents in booze?
On its own, limoncello is pretty sweet, but a couple of shots combined with eight ounces of tonic or seltzer (thank you, sodastream) over ice is darn near perfect for that back porch cocktail hour on a hot summer day.
Mom and dad are coming in for a visit this week and the limoncello is ready to go. Cocktail hour happens less frequently here than at my folks’ place, but when in Rome…or Raleigh.
- 20 unwaxed lemons (organic, if possible)
- 1 quart vodka
- 3 cups sugar
- 3 ½ cups water
Place zest and vodka in a sterile container and seal airtight.
Allow zest to steep in vodka for 3 days.
In a saucepan, dissolve sugar in water and bring to a boil 3 minutes to set, then allow to cool.
Strain lemon peels from vodka.
Combine sugar syrup and vodka in a bottle or other airtight container.
Limoncello may be served immediately or stored up to 4 months.
Originally: How to Make Limoncello