Italian Limoncello ~ Crisp & fragrant, liquid sunshine
Total Prep & Infusion Time: 60 days

Arnell's homemade batch of limoncello

Though we have been to Italy several times and become more enchanted with every opportunity, we have tended to just enjoy the lovely inexpensive local wines ('table wine') at dinner; feeling fortunate to be able to partake in such a nice treat at so reasonable a cost. Not being big drinkers, we haven't really ventured too far from that simple pleasure. That was until we went to dinner with our friend Morena in Bergamo. After a very satisfying meal we were pondering the beauty of a shared sweet when the waiter brought us each a slender glass of limoncello in order to cleanse the palate for dessert. I fell under the spell of this lightly fragrant, crisp, lemony liqueur. Its like drinking liquid sunshine! So began to order it after dinner and discovered most restaurants have their own special versions. I've been experimenting with different recipes and this is the one that comes closest to the smoothest Limoncello I've tasted.

Careful, use only the yellow outer part of rind What’s needed:
Microplane grater or lemon zester
One-gallon re-sealable glass jar with secure lid for infusing/storing
Additional smaller bottles that seal tightly, for your actual limoncello batch
2 pieces of cheesecloth
A funnel

Ingredients:
17 thick, yet smooth-skinned, fragrant, bright yellow, vine ripened lemons (organic is ideal)
2 (750 ml) bottles 100-proof vodka (I used Absolut 100) or Everclear
4 cups white granulated sugar
5 cups filtered water
Step One:
Wash lemons with vegetable brush & hot water; removing any reside of pesticides or wax. Pat dry. Outer Peel Lemon Zest
Step Two:

In a large glass (1-gallon) jar with secure lid, add one 750 ml bottle of 100-proof vodka or Everclear and the lemon zest while it is being zested. When zesting lemons, be very careful to avoid the bitter white pith - using only yellow outer part of rind (this step is all about quality over quantity.) Save the lemons for another use such as making lemonade. Cover jar and let rest in a cool, dark place for 30 days (no need to stir, except shake bottle once in a while when you think of it). The vodka will slowly take on the yellow, aromatic fragrance of the lemons.
Step Three:
After the month has passed, add the 2nd - 750 ml bottle of 100-proof vodka (or Everclear) to the lemon zest infusion and stir. Hardest Part is the Waiting for the Infusion to Turn to Perfection
Step Four:

In a large saucepan, combine the sugar and water over medium heat; bring to a very gentle boil for approximately 5 to 7 minutes. Remove from heat and let this simple syrup cool completely before adding to Limoncello mixture. Cover jar tightly and allow it to steep for another 30 or more days.
Step Five: After that 2nd month is over, strain the Limoncello into prepared bottle(s) with a moistened, double layered cheesecloth; while being sure to squeeze every last drop of the intensely flavored liquid from those zested lemon peels. Discard the lemon zest. Once the bottles of Limoncello liqueur are sealed tightly, keep chilled & serve cold. The flavor gets smoother after the 1st week and beyond. I keep it in the fridge but you may want to store in the freezer until ready to share. Yummy and makes being far from Italy a little less tragic between visits.
Drop me a line in case you try this recipe and let me know what you think.

When Life Gives You Lemons, Make Limoncello Label



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