I found out a few years ago that my family has a recipe for making Limoncello. I recently took the plunge and made my first batch. After 60 days in the making I’m very happy it was a success! My limoncello has gotten rave reviews from all who have tried it; it even won a taste test against fancy store-bought limoncello! I am sharing the recipe here because it’s a fun and yummy project.
Limoncello is an Italian lemon liqueur made by steeping the zest of fresh lemons in grain alcohol until the oil is released and the resulting vibrant yellow liquid is mixed with simple syrup. It is traditionally served chilled as an after dinner digestif (in theory to aid digestion). My Aunt swears it’s best drizzled over ice cream.
Small bottles of limoncello also make great gifts for friends and family at Christmas or other holidays. Check out Save-On-Crafts, who have good deals on clear glass bottles and lovely gift tags that would be perfect for this. Cost Plus World Market also has glass bottles and gorgeous handmade gift tags that would work great; they are inexpensive and they have multiple sizes with a clamp top closure (also known as swing top).
My family recipe actually calls for an 80-day process, but I went with 60 days so the recipe has been modified accordingly.
15 thick-skinned Meyer lemons
2 (750 ml) bottles of vodka. I used Svedka.
4 cups granulated sugar
5 cups water
1. Scrub the lemons with a vegetable brush (found in kitchen stores) and soap with warm water until clean. Then rinse well and drip dry on a towel.
2. Using a sharp vegetable peeler, take the yellow zest off all the lemons in large pieces. Avoid the pith as it has a bitter taste. Larger pieces will facilitate the straining step later. (No, my arms are not that hairy-I got help peeling the lemons!)