Aha! I spied Meyer lemons in the market — that means it’s time to make limoncello! I first tasted limoncello in Sorrento, Italy, many years ago. Many years later, I was introduced to the creamy version. They are both decadent pleasures! Store it in the freezer so that it becomes thick and you have an icy cold refreshing aperitif.
It’s SO EASY to make, and when all finished, if you can let go of it, you have a lovely gift (for someone you really like!). Over the years, I have tweaked the recipe, researched — how arduous, and taken a few tips from others who also make this luscious drink. Here’s how I do it.
For the base:
- 10 organic lemons
- One 750-ml bottle of grain alcohol Everclear
For regular limoncello:
- 4 cups water or mixture of lemon juice and water to total 4 cups
- 3 cups sugar
For creamy limoncello:
- 8 cups whole milk or mixture of fruit juice and milk to total 8 cups
- 8 cups sugar
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
Step one, make the base:
Wash and dry the lemons. Using a potato peeler, peel just the yellow part of the skin off the lemons. Larger pieces of peel are easier to deal with later in the process. Put the lemon peels into a gallon jar; pour the bottle of Everclear over and stir gently. Cover tightly and put away in a cool (not cold) dark place for alcohol to extract oils from peels, creating an infusion. Juice the lemons and freeze for later use.
On day 3, or later, scoop out one of the larger peels and test flexibility. If peel breaks like a potato chip, you will move on to the next step. If peel is still flexible enough to bend without breaking, return to cool dark place and try again in another day or two.
Step three, finish the ‘cello:
Dissolve sugar in water or milk (and fruit juice if using) and bring to boil over high heat.
Set syrup aside to cool. It must be at room temperature before adding to infusion.
Using a very fine sieve, strain out the lemon peels from the alcohol mixture.
Return filtered infusion to jar and add COOLED syrup.
Pour into small bottles with tightly fitting lids. Return the bottles to cool dry place for a week to begin mellowing process that combines alcohol infusion with syrup to create Limoncello.
Be sure to store both regular and creamy Limoncello in your freezer so that they become thick, which makes them extremely enjoyable to sip. So serve in an aperitif glass - I recommend a limit on how many servings you provide each individual because they do go down very easily!