Limoncello is an intensely lemon flavored and often brightly lemon hued liqueur found, in one version or another, every where in Italy that citrus grows. This recipe comes from the fabled Sorrento Peninsula, which faces the Isle of Capri off the coast of Campania. Citrus fruits tend to carry heavy residue from pesticides and other agricultural applications, so wash your lemons very well in warm water even if they are organic.
Portions: Makes about 2 quarts/2 liters
- 25 ripe lemons, preferably organic
- 4 cups/1 liter ever clear or other neutral grain alcohol, or more if needed
- 31⁄2 cups/700 grams sugar
With a very sharp paring knife or vegetable peeler, remove the zest from the lemons in wide strips. (Squeeze lemons for lemonade, or freeze the juice for future use.). Combine the zest and the Ever clear in a large glass jar with a tight-fitting lid, making sure all the zest is submerged. Add a little more Ever clear if necessary. Cover tightly and place in a cupboard or other cool, dark place for 48 hours. Combine the sugar with 4 cups/1 liter cold water in a large nonreactive pot and bring to a boil over medium high heat, stirring occasionally to dissolve the sugar. Remove from the heat and let the syrup cool in the pot to room temperature. Set a fine mesh sieve over the pot, and strain the lemon alcohol into the pot, discarding the zest. Stir well and return the liquid the country cooking of Italy to the jar. Allow to settle for 24 hours before serving. Store, tightly covered, in a cool, dark place for up to 3 months.