Forget fruitcake; start brewing homemade limoncello now for delicious holiday gifts. Limoncello is a sweet, zesty lemon liqueur developed in Sicily, always served ice cold, and is best straight from the freezer.
Limoncello is simple to make-only three ingredients -but it takes time to develop its flavor. Start with vodka. Don’t worry about the brand. One-hundred-proof vodka will bring less of its own flavor to the mix, allowing the lemons to shine through, and the high alcohol content will keep your limoncello from freezing.
The only real work comes in peeling the lemons. You’ll want lots of lemons. Lots. Go to the farmers’ market and buy a dozen for every liter of vodka. When you peel the lemons, take only the thinnest, brightly colored skin and avoid the white, fleshy pith that will make your brew bitter. A vegetable peeler works well. Take your time to be careful with this step.
Place the lemon zest-no white stuff!-in a large glass bottle or jar. Pour the vodka over the zest, cover loosely, and allow to infuse for a couple of weeks at room temperature. When the color has gone out of the peels, this step is done. While you’re waiting, gather up the bottles you’ll want to give as gifts.
When the infusion is complete, make a simple syrup. For each liter of vodka, heat about 2Â½ cups of sugar and 4 cups of water in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil and allow to boil for 15 minutes without stirring; then cool to room temperature.
Once it’s cool, add the vodka mixture to the sugar mixture, and strain into bottles. Seal each bottle with a cork, or use bottles that come with a ceramic stopper. Allow a couple weeks for the flavors to blend at room temperature, and then put your bottles in the freezer until you’re ready to celebrate. Enjoy!
1 liter 100-proof vodka
2Â½ c. sugar
4 c. water