After a year in Seattle, the sun and I are estranged friends. I've done what I can to combat the winter blues here, and making homemade limoncello is like putting liquid sunshine in a jar. I made this one back in Spring, but I think I might get another batch going again as autumn descends.
I usually don't drink sweet cocktails (unless sharing with others, or it's Eduardo's going away party). I prefer a hoppy beer or a whiskey on the rocks, but let's get one thing straight. Limoncello is AMAZING! Maybe it's because I spent two weeks in Italy for a class, or maybe it's the nostalgic love I have for Lemonheads candy. I don't know. The point is, I've made an exception to my sweets rule with this.
Limoncello is versatile and can be incorporated in many different desserts and mixed drinks. I've had this both straight and mixed it with lemonade and sparkling water. It can easily be used in cakes, frostings, and sauces. It also makes a great gift, especially if stored in some novelty glassware or swing-top bottles.
Here are some ideas on how to eat your Limoncello:
- Sherbet with Amaretto Cookies
- Granita (in Itailan, use Google Translate)
- Cupcakes with Frosting
...and some ideas on how to drink it.
- Raspberry Basil Cocktail
- "Margarita" with Limoncello instead of tequila
- Limoncello Sunrise
- As a substitute for lemon and sugar syrup in a sparkling lemonade
- Chilled and sipped from a cordial or shot glass
Recipe from The Gourmet Worrier
- 750mL 100-proof vodka (cheap brands OK)
- 10 unwaxed, organic lemons (if you can't find unwaxed & organic, go for organic and a good hot water bath and scrub)
- 500 g sugar
- 600 mL water (just boiled)
Note: I chose to stay in metric weight measurements because of consistency and precision. If you don't have a scale and prefer to use volumetric measurements, the approximations are 2 1/2 cups of sugar and 20 fl. oz of water, or 2 1/4 cups).
Unwaxed and organic lemons may be hard to come by. Remember they will be steeping in your liquid, so this is one item you don't want to shortcut. For those of you in warmer regions, you might even be lucky enough to have fresh citrus. If you are unsure if your organic lemons are waxed or not, wash the lemons in very hot water and scrub well with a fruit/veg brush.
Zest all 10 lemons, taking as little pith (white stuff) with you as possible.
Place the zest in a 1 liter jar. I found the label for this old glass jar to be especially appropriate for the job...