Limoncello originates from Sorrento and the Amalfi Coast areas of Italy. Recently, it has been elevated to become the National Drink of Italy, and is produced throughout the country. Epicurean Exchange has lead several tours of Italy to Tuscany (Central), Piemonte (North), and Puglia and Sicily (South). The food and culture of each region is unique and diverse; based on the history, geography and climate of each. One recipe is ubiquitous, and although varying slightly, recipe-to-recipe, the final product is the same: an intensely-flavored lemon liqueur and digestive that is served very chilled (stored in the freezer) and sipped at the end of a meal, but certainly can be enjoyed anytime! The recipe is simple: alcohol, lemons, water, sugar and time…
3 - 750ml bottles Everclear 75% volume Grain Alcohol (or vodka) – see note below
18 large, organic Eureka lemons, washed and peeled, making sure you only peel the skins and no bitter pith; the peel should be yellow on both sides. (Juice the peeled lemons, and reserve for other purposes)
9 cups water
3 cups granulated sugar
3 - 32-ounce (1 liter) Ball wide mouth glass canning jars for maceration
3 - 34-ounce clear glass bottles with swing tops for storage and service
Makes enough to fill 3 - 34-ounce glass bottles
• Fill the canning jars with the Everclear Grain Alcohol. Add the peels of 6 lemons to each jar. Cover with the lids and gently shake each for a minute or so.
• Place the jars in a cool, dark place for 3 weeks; gently shaking them every couple of days.
• After 3 weeks, make the simple syrup: combine the water and sugar in a stock pot and place over medium heat. As the mixture heats, stir gently and constantly, until the sugar is completely dissolved. Remove from the heat and allow to cool completely.
• Strain the alcohol from the lemon peels, using a fine mesh strainer, into the sugar mixture. Keeping the peels in the jar, add a bit of water and shake the peels and again pour off excess. Add the peels to the strainer and press the peels to release as much liquid as possible. Stir the mixture for several minutes to ensure it is well-combined.
• Transfer the finished product to the glass bottles using a funnel. Store bottles in the same cool, dark place for another 2 weeks to allow the flavors to meld and concentrate.
• To serve: chill the bottles in the freezer for a minimum of 2 hours before serving. Serve straight up, in small aperitif glasses. Enjoy!
Note: This recipe makes a substantial amount, and assumes you will want to make, store and share the final product. You can reduce the amount by simply dividing this recipe into thirds, or increase to create the desired amount.
© 2018, Epicurean Exchange. Inspired by the research of countless variations
CHEF CHARLIE'S BLOG
Chef Charlie is a Bay Area chef, culinary food educator, lifestyle coach, food enthusiast and culinary travel guide, who is fascinated by the interplay of food and culture.