In Italy, you see small and large bottles of limoncello for sale in just about every shop. Having tasted my way through quite a few when my best friend, Carol Vanover and I were in Italy, I just had to make a limoncello that equaled Italy’s.
The great thing about this is it keeps just about forever in the freezer. Start making it now and it will be perfect for the holidays.
My latest tweak is to make it with really thick-skinned lemons. It’s the peel that infuses flavor into the vodka, so thick skinned ones are best. If you can’t find thick skinned ones, just use a few more thinner skinned lemons. You can’t go wrong either way!
Here’s detailed instructions.
•A good 3 pounds or so lemons, thick skinned if possible
•4 cups 100 proof vodka
•3 cups sugar
•3 cups water
1.Pour vodka in large glass jar or container. Don’t use plastic, as it may be air permeable.
2.Wash fruit well to remove wax coating: plunge each lemon into boiling water and remove it right away. Dry immediately with a towel and the wax will be rubbed off.
3.Remove zest/peel with a vegetable peeler. That’s the colored part. Now if some of the white part underneath the skin is visible cut that off. That’s the pith and it’s very bitter.
4.If you can’t get it all off, do the best you can. I usually wind up with a bit of pitch on some of the peels, but no worries.
5.Place peels in jar with vodka and cover. Let sit at room temperature for 2-3 weeks. Go ahead and taste. It won’t hurt to let it infuse even longer. The vodka will take on the color and flavor of the citrus as it steeps.
6.Bring sugar and water to a simmer and stir until sugar dissolves completely. Let cool and then add that to vodka mixture and stir. Let sit for an hour. Strain and put in pretty bottles.
7.Seal and chill in refrigerator a couple of weeks at least. Or store in freezer for a long, long time!
To use, serve straight over ice chips, mix with sparkling wine or mineral water and a lemon curl, toss with fresh fruit, serve over ice cream, frozen yogurt or simple cake.
Tip from Rita’s kitchen:
Switch it up! I’ve made this with a combo of lemons and limes, and another reader said she’s made it with navel oranges.