Though we have been to Italy lots of times and become more enchanted with every
visit, we have tended to stick to lovely local wines; happy it is typically so
inexpensive yet good. Not being big drinkers, we haven't experimented much but
while at dinner
with Morena in Bergamo,the waiter brought us limoncello to
cleanse the palate for dessert.
We fell under the spell of this lightly fragrant, lemony liqueur. Its
like drinking liquid sunshine! We discovered
many restaurants have their own special version. I've been
experimenting with different recipes and this comes closest to the smoothest Limoncello
I've had there.
One-gallon re-sealable glass jar with secure lid for infusing/storing
Additional smaller bottles that seal tightly, for limoncello batch (later)
2 layers cheesecloth and funnel
17 thick, smooth-skinned, fragrant, bright yellow, lemons (vine ripened, organic ideal)
2 (750 ml) bottles 100-proof vodka
4 cups white sugar
5 cups filtered water
Wash lemons with brush & hot water; removing any reside of pesticides or wax. Pat dry.
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
being zested. When zesting lemons, be very careful to avoid bitter white pith - using only yellow outer part of rind (quality over quantity.) Save lemons for making lemonade
or something. Cover jar and let rest in a cool, dark place
for 30 days (swirl bottle once in a while). The vodka will slowly take on aromatic fragrance of the lemons.
After 1st month passes, add 2nd 750 ml bottle of 100-proof alcohol to lemon infusion and stir. Wait another 30 days, shaking bottle occasionaly.
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
cool completely before adding to Limoncello. Cover jar tightly and allow it to steep for another 30 or more days.
After 3rd month, strain Limoncello into prepared bottle(s) with a moistened, double layered cheesecloth; while
squeezing every last drop of intensely flavored liquid from zested lemon peels.
Discard the lemon zest. When bottles of Limoncello liqueur are sealed tightly, keep chilled & serve cold.
Flavor gets smoother
after 1st week and beyond. Keep in fridge or freezer. Enjoy!
(Click button for details on Arnell's next tour of Italy)