Part Lemon. Part Liquor. All Summer.
The Limoncello is a traditional liqueur of Southern Italy. Typically enjoyed after dinner, as a mid-meal palate cleanser, or as a welcoming drink to guests. This summertime staple is sweet, refreshing and very simple, making it a great starting point for those getting into the art of home infusions. It requires just four ingredients and a little patience, but the final product is amazing.
Using a vegetable peeler, peel the zest from 10 lemons in long strips. It’s best to use organic lemons to avoid waxy residue.
The peeled lemons themselves won’t be used, and may be reserved for other uses.
Next, the pith needs to be removed or the finished product will be bitter. To do this, lay the zest pith-side up, and carefully scrape away the pith with a sharp knife. Holding the blade as depicted will allow you to remove the pith without losing too much of the flavorful zest.
Place the lemon zest in a large, sealable container (at least 2 quarts), and pour one 750ml bottle of Everclear® over the zest. 190 proof Everclear® has the greatest extraction ability, but 151 proof is a perfectly suitable substitute.
Seal or cover the container and keep in a cool, dry place. Do not refrigerate. Allow to steep for at least four days and up to four weeks if your schedule allows. The longer it steeps, the more flavor the Everclear® will absorb. Shake occasionally.
Make simple syrup by combining 3 ½ cups of water and 2 ½ cups of sugar in a medium saucepan, and bring to a boil. Keep boiling and stir frequently for about 5-10 minutes or until sugar is dissolved. Remove from heat and allow to rest until the simple syrup has cooled to room temperature.
Add the simple syrup to the lemon infusion to taste, cover and let rest overnight. Then strain mixture into a sealable container.
Store limoncello in the freezer, and serve in a chilled shot glass.
1 (750-ml) bottle Everclear®
3 ½ cups water
2 ½ cups sugar
- Peel 10 freshly washed, organic lemons. Lemons may be reserved for future use.
- Remove the pith.
- Combine lemon zest and Everclear® in a large, sealable container, at least 2 qts.
- Let steep for at least 4 days and up to 4 weeks in a cool, dry place.
- After the lemon-Everclear® mixture is infused to your liking, combine sugar and water in a medium saucepan.
- Bring to a boil, stirring regularly until sugar is fully dissolved, approximately 5-10 minutes. Let syrup cool to room temperature and combine simple syrup and lemon infusion to taste.
- Strain mixture. Chill in freezer. Enjoy.
Organic lemons make the best Limoncellos. They are not waxed and their zest will have a more natural taste. Also, you’ll want to be sure to wash your lemons and remove any dirt or stickers.
You can always adjust the ratio of water to sugar in the simple syrup to taste, controlling for sweetness, potency, and clarity vs. cloudiness.
Drink it straight in a chilled shot glass, or use as an ingredient in a cocktail like our Sparkling Limoncello Mojito.