the holiday season is nearly upon us, which means it's time to start thinking about making those gifts and treats that take a little bit more time to come together; limoncello, beer advent calendars, homemade sweets advent calendars, and Christmas cake to name a few.
For those of you who don't know, limoncello is a traditional Italian lemon flavoured Liqueur. It's quite stiff (boozy), very sweet (liqueur!!) and bursts with a fresh lemon flavour. Best enjoyed ice cold (just let it live in the freezer), in small quantities, usually after dinner. Or how about in this beautiful limoncello bellini?
The recipe I followed says that meyer lemons make the tastiest limoncello and that may very well be true, but I used regular organic lemons and found they produced an amazing result. I also used a mixture of different vodkas, as I was trying to get rid of old stock - this included Pinnacle whipped cream vodka, Grey Goose vodka, and North of 7 Distillery vodka.
makes 3 cups
3 large Meyer lemons *or plain organic lemons
2 cups 80-proof vodka (40% ABV) *I used a mixture of different brands
1 cup white sugar *don’t use any sugar that has a brownish tinge*
1/4 cup fresh Meyer lemon juice – strained *or freshly squeezed plain lemon juice
Peel the lemons with a vegetable hand-peeler, being careful to strip only the zest and as little of the white pith as possible. Place the lemon zest in a large clean glass jar (mason jar). Pour the vodka over the zest. Seal the jar, shake well and store at room temperature in a dark cupboard for 45 to 60 days, shaking the jar once a week. When the lemon peels look very pale, almost white, you’re ready to proceed with the recipe.
To make the syrup – Place the sugar, water and lemon juice in a saucepan and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 2 minutes until the sugar has completely dissolved and the syrup has slightly thickened. Cool to room temperature.
Open the jar containing the lemon zest and vodka and pour the syrup into it. Seal, shake well and store at room temperature in a dark cupboard for one more week.
Strain the liqueur through a fine cheesecloth (or coffee filter) and pour into a clean glass bottle. Store the liqueur in the freezer. Serve very chilled.