Might I suggest a homemade gift of limoncello for late summer parties. Get started now. You’ll need to let it rest for a minimum of several weeks for a flavorful batch. You can try this recipe with orange or lime too.
I spotted Meyer lemons at John R. Stoner’s stand, in the Lancaster Central Market. These bright beauties are not easy to find and their unique flavor means they make something very special. You can try this recipe with oranges, grapefruit or blood oranges. If you don’t use the lemon juice right away, make sure to freeze for later.
After reading many website threads about limoncello recipes, I tried my hand at my own blend. The first tip, which seems most common, is to use an alcohol with a high alcohol content, 100 proof or higher. Some swear by Everclear (corn based). I used 80 proof vodka and thought the first batch too sweet. You can always add less simple syrup adding more to taste.
There are many opinions on the length of time to steep. Some recipes suggest 2 weeks total steeping time and others a minimum of 3 months. If you follow this recipe you should have a delightful batch by Christmas. Let this be a guideline and begin your own experiments…. I’ve just begun and come Christmas 2013 imagine the recipe will have changed.
- 12 meyer lemons
- 1 (750ml ) bottle vodka or Everclear alcohol (100 proof minimum)
- 2 cups of sugar
- 3 cups water
Carefully remove the zest of the lemon, using a sharp paring knife being sure to leave pith on the lemon. You can use a veg peeler and follow-up with a sharp knife to remove the pith, if necessary.
Place the lemon zest in a 1 gallon glass container pour in the vodka. Seal the container, put on a shelf, undisturbed, for a minimum of 1 week and up to 1 month. The color will start to leach from the zest.
After the zest and alcohol has rested (1 wk – 1 month), prepare the sugar syrup by bringing the water to a boil, adding the sugar, reduce to simmer and stir until evenly dissolved. Cool.
*** I suggest you mix the syrup in thirds so you can make it to taste *** Add the syrup to the lemon & vodka mixture, stirring until blended. Allow it to rest, undisturbed for a minimum of 7 days up to 2 months.
Using a fine mesh strainer (or a coffee filter lined strainer) and a few cups at a time, strain the limoncello into sterilized containers. Seal and chill. The higher the alcohol content the ease in freezing