Homemade Limoncello

It’s the start of a boozy Sunday – I love limoncello, it’s a lemon digestive served cold.  It’s easy to make, and just takes time. Typically pure grain alcohol is used, but I was told by an Italian family friend that I could use vodka, as long as it was good quality vodka that I would use for cocktails. Pick a high proof vodka you would use for sipping. I recommend Belvedere, Grey Goose, or Effen for sipping.

I should state that the longer you let the jar/bottle rest the better. I lay it up for a max of 40 days for the first rest, and 40 for the second rest. You can also use Meyer lemons in this recipe or oranges.

Homemade Limoncello – 2 bottles
8-10 lemons
2 750 ml high-proof vodka
2 1/2 cups sugar
3 1/2 cups water

Wash the lemons with a vegetable brush and hot water; pat the lemons dry.

Carefully zest the lemons with a zester or vegetable peeler so there is no white pith on the peel. Avoid the pith, this is the white part underneath the rind, it’s too bitter and would spoil the limoncello.

In a clean and sanitized bottle/jar; add the lemon zest, and cover with 1 bottle of vodka. Cover the bottle/jar and let sit at room temperature for at least 15 days and up to 40 days in a cool dark place. By day 40 your vodka should should have a beautiful yellow color.

At day 40 (after the first resting period):
Simple Syrup: Combine sugar and water in a large saucepan cook until slightly thickened, approximately 5 to 7 minutes.

Let the syrup cool before adding it to the limoncello mixture, divide evenly among both bottles. Add the additional bottle of vodka if necessary. Allow to rest for another 15 to 40 days. After the rest period, strain and bottle: discarding the lemon zest. Store refrigerated.

You will have a bright yellow delicious liquid.

To serve: place the limoncello in the freezer for a minimum of 2 hours.
In French we say “santé‎”, but I think it’s more appropriate when enjoying limoncello to say “salute!”

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Happy Cooking!