If you got right on it this weekend, you could easily be giving away beautiful bottles of your own homemade limoncello for Christmas. It’s really very simple and only takes about a half-hour or so hands-on time. It's just the steeping that takes time. The only hard part is planning far enough ahead to allow that steeping. And, like I said, if you start this weekend . . . .
I made some a few years ago in preparing for a big summer blast we hosted. (It was so big, we haven’t had one since!) That same year, I also made mojitos. Must have been when they first came into vogue. Trouble was that both those drinks are really best when it’s hot and you need a really refreshing, cool beverage. Wouldn’t you know it was blowing rain and 45 degrees the day of our soiree? That’s probably the real reason we haven’t had a bash in a while! So . . . although the mojitos still went, I had lots of limoncello left. But I didn’t complain; I like it a lot. It’s great on its own or mixed with club soda, or spiking up some lemonade. I haven’t tried it on ice cream, but I hear that’s good, too.
My sister made up this batch. It’s on its last leg of mellowing and will be ready to decant into pretty bottles for holiday gifting.
After helping her finish the concocting, I figured out why mine didn’t sell so swell – and I can’t blame it on the weather. This batch was nice and clear and I recall my first batch was a bit cloudy. Her recipe clearly cautioned to make sure you let the simple syrup cool to room temperature before adding in the second step. If you add the syrup while it’s still warm, you’ll get a cloudy mixture. (Now they tell me!)
The person who submitted this recipe to food.com -- (McMysteryShopper) -- in 2006 said the secret to this particular version was the addition of the zest of one lime. The contributor also stressed removing the zest only; if you use a peeler and any white pith remains, get rid of it.
So order yourself some pretty bottles online this weekend and you’ll be ready to share some very festive and warming homemade gifts. Italian or not, they'll love it.
The zest of 12 lemons
The zest of 1 lime
2 (750 ml) bottles 100% proof vodka, divided
2 cups water
2 cups granulated sugar.
Place the lemon and lime zest in a large jar with a screw-top lid and cover with one bottle of vodka. Leave mixture to mellow for 2 weeks in a dark place.
After mixture sets, combine sugar and water in a small saucepan, bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring frequently, until the sugar has dissolved. Allow the syrup to cool to room temperature. (This is very important. If the sugar syrup is still warm the limoncello will become cloudy instead of clear.)
Using a coffee filter or a fine sieve, strain the vodka from the zest and mix it with the remaining bottle of vodka and the syrup. Pour the liqueur in bottle, seal tightly and let mellow in a dark place for at least 10 days before using – or gift giving.
For drinking straight, store the limoncello in the freezer.