At first, I thought the worst part of making limoncello was going to be having to carefully zest all of the lemons. But once I put everything in the jar and closed the lid it was then that I realized the hardest part, the wait! I’ll have to wait about three weeks before savoring a small glass of this amazingly sweet and potent Italian liqueur.
Enjoying a limoncello in Italy is like experiencing something from another planet. On several lucky occasions there were those hot afternoons in Tuscany I remember where the restaurant owners just happened to have a homemade stash behind the counter. They would always be happy to share and enjoy a small glass and some relaxing conversation with their new American friends.
Well, my first attempt is resting in a cool, dark place now and in about two weeks I will let it see the light of day and that is when I will add the final ingredient, simple syrup. Ah, I am already dreaming of Sorrento!
Even though I am not using the Femminello St. Teresa lemons from the south of Italy, I am sure the final product won’t disappoint. I am told the traditional way to make limoncello is in a terracotta vase. I will have to explore that more in depth next time. For now, we will have to get by with a glass mason jar.
Here is the recipe I adapted from my cousin, Pietro. I will post some images in a few weeks once it is ready. Have you ever made limoncello and if so, how did it turn out? Leave your comments below. Ciao!!
- 8 lemons, zested
- 1 4" cinnamon stick
- 750 ml 100 proof vodka
- 3 1/2 cups filtered water
- 3 cups sugar
- Sterilize a half gallon mason jar in oven for ten minutes at 225 degrees without opening oven.
- After ten minutes turn oven off and let jar stay in oven until ready to use.
- Zest lemons using a vegetable peeler or small knife. Make sure only to zest the yellow and not the white part.
- Once jar is cool pour vodka inside and add lemon zest and cinnamon stick
- Close jar tightly and store in cool, dark place for 16 days, turning lightly to mix twice a week.
- After 16 days, heat water in medium saucepan and add sugar. Mix until sugar is dissolved and almost reaches a boil to make a simple syrup. Cool completely.
- Add simple syrup to vodka mixture and stir gently
- Leave to rest for another seven to ten days to mellow out and incorporate the flavors.
- Strain through a cheesecloth into sterilized limoncello bottles. Enjoy!
- ~Sterilize jar before using
- ~Avoid zesting any white part of the lemons
- ~Use organic lemons if possible
- ~Make sure the vodka is 100 proof
- ~Order limoncello bottles during the resting period. World Market and Fishs Eddy have a nice selection of thin bottles