So you want to know about making Limoncello- this liquid gold?
This is what I did after listening to all the advice of my friends during the 14 years in Italy (including my Italian husband who has his own strong opinions and tends to like things on the sweet side) and reading everything there is to read online about making Limoncello.
I peeled the Meyer lemons and placed them in a glass vessel 3 weeks ago to macerate a good long time to achieve an exquisite taste. i read in my research that for best results you want to let the lemon peels steep for about 5 weeks (or until the peel breaks like a potato chip) for maximum flavor. We will see . This is the first time I am making it. My friend Michelle called me excitedly to tell me she found Meyer lemons at Walmart of all places! She bought me some so I could use the rind and she the juice. Do you know why the juice is so sweet in a Meyer? It’s because it’s a hybrid of a lemon and an orange! We will see if the Limoncello turns out as good as the Bianchetti lemons that Capri Island of Italy produce…
So I peeled 8 lemons and threw the peels with no pith into a liter and half of vodka.These photos are after 3 weeks of steeping. Notice the orange gold color of the liquid? I’m sensing a really good product to come in about 2 more weeks when I strain the peels and add the sugar syrup.
- 80 proof vodka – I used most of a 1.75 L bottle
- the peels of 8 lemons with as much of the white pith removed as possible
- simple syrup – I ended up using 4 cups in total of syrup
- Use a vegetable peeler to peel thin strips of the rind away from the lemons. If there is any white pith left on the underside of the rind, scrape it away with a pairing knife. The pith will give the limoncello a bitter flavor.
- Place the rinds in a large glass vessel. Add vodka into jar, cover tightly with plastic wrap- I used press and Seal -and store in a cool, dark place. Steep in the vodka for five weeks (much longer than most recipes called for). The longer they steep, the more intense the lemon flavor will be. To test doneness of peels, bend one- if it breaks like a potato chip it’s ready!
- Strain the steeped vodka into a large pitcher. You may want to strain it a few times to make sure all the small bits of peel are removed.
- Start adding the simple syrup until the limoncello is to your desired sweetness. I added two full cups at first, and then I added a quarter cup at a time until it tasted right to me. I ended up using four cups (one quart) of simple syrup. I realized that I now had a ratio. 2 parts lemon steeped 80-proof vodka to 1 part simple syrup.
- Using a narrow-necked funnel, pour into clean bottles, cap tightly, and store in a cool, dark place for 2 weeks. Keep a bottle in the freezer, and break it out when company comes over- or even when they don’t!! In Italy we always drank it after a long , slow meal as a digestive and as a treat at the end of a wonderful dinner. It’s usually served in small shot glasses as its about 35-45 proof strong!
In Italy you can find cute little artisan pottery glasses specifically for limoncello!