Limoncello is an Italian liqueur, traditionally served after meals, or sometimes as a welcome drink. It’s typically served chilled and sometimes, it may be so cold that it borders on Slurpee consistency (though it has to be a lower-proof version or an extremely cold freezer to make that happen). While it’s typically served straight, it also makes for a killer cocktail ingredient.
Generally speaking, there are only three ingredients in limoncello: sugar, spirit, and lemon. Occasionally you might find one that adds a dash of rosemary or another herb to the mix. Some also use grapefruit, orange, pomelo, or other citrus, but then it’s not actually limoncello (you need limone for that). It’s generally clear with maybe a little cloudiness.
10 lemons (unwaxed, organic. Meyer lemons are best)
1 (750ml) bottle everclear or vodka
3 1/2 cups water
2 1/2 cups granulated sugar (white sugar)
- Using a vegetable peeler, remove the peel from the lemons in long strips (reserve the lemons for another use – maybe lemon curd).
- Using a small sharp knife, trim away the white pith from the lemon peels; discard the pith. Place the lemon peels in a 2-quart pitcher.
- Pour the vodka over the peels and cover with plastic wrap. Steep the lemon peels in the vodka for 4 days at room temperature.
- Stir the water and sugar in a large saucepan over medium heat until the sugar dissolves, about 5 minutes. Cool completely.
- Pour the sugar syrup over the vodka mixture. Cover and let stand at room temperature overnight.
- Strain the limoncello through a mesh strainer. Discard the peels.
- Transfer the limoncello to bottles. Seal the bottles and refrigerate until cold, at least 4 hours.