It is so nice being back in Charlotte. This is my first spring in Charlotte in 6 years, and I had forgotten how beautiful it is. In the last week it all of the flowers have erupted and decided to bloom. Warm weather is now here to stay, so why not have a nice refreshing drink to go with the spring weather? I have never been to Europe, but I hear limoncello is a big thing to drink in Italy.
Generally great things take patience. Limoncello is a great thing, so you will need to remember that it takes some time to do right. Never having tried limoncello before, I was not quite sure where to begin. I decided to adapt my recipe from one by Giada de Laurentiis.
Italian food is Giada’s specialty, so I figured she would be a good starting point. I made a few changes to hers. Here is what I used.
10 washed organic lemons (I just want the lemons no pesticides as well)
750ml of good quality vodka ( I used Absolut)
3 1/2 cups water
2 1/4 cups sugar
You will need to peel the skins off of the lemons. I used a serrated vegetable peeler and had no problems. When peeling do not go too deep and get any of the white pith, you only want the yellow skins. The lemon peel will release oil causing the lemon to become slippery. Be careful. Unfortunately, my thumb learned this the hard way.
After peeling you should be left with lemons looking like this.
You will only be using the lemon peels to make limoncello so do not throw away the skinless lemons. There are a wide variety of things you can use them for. Lemon curd, lemonade, use them in a marinade… In the next few weeks I will show you what I used mine for.
Next, all you need to do is put the lemon peels in a container with the vodka and sit back and wait.
The picture on the left was taken an hour after I put the peels into the vodka, you can already see some yellow color in the vodka. The center image are daffodils that my mom had growing in her yard. When the daffodils are out spring is definitely here! The image in the right shows the vodka and lemon mixture four days later.
After four days it is time to add the sweetness to the limoncello.
In a large pot combine the water with the sugar. Over medium heat stir the mixture until the sugar is completely dissolved into the water. Let the sugar water mixture cool. Combine this with the lemon infused vodka. Let this sit over night ( I was too impatient and went straight to the next step, but next time I am going to do this).
In my research, of how to make this delicious beverage, I have read that people leave the lemons, sugar, and vodka to sit for much longer than a night. Supposedly the flavor gets better with age? I was not that patient so I ran the contents of my container through a strainer and into several small glass jars for safe keeping. After 4 days of waiting it was time to taste.
Delicious! I drank mine over ice. I am not sure if that is how it is done in Europe, but it tasted good to me! I am going to have to make limocello again and see how long it must sit to get the most flavor. I am also going to mix this with the bubblegum vodka and see how it tastes. I have heard grain alcohol instead of vodka works really well, might have to give that a try also.
Have you had limoncello?