Let me first start with a STERN warning. This WILL put hair on your chest. Sip, do not shoot. Savor, do not chug-a-lug. Or you may wake up having passed out on your rug. Heed these warnings. Yes, do fear. For this limoncello, as smooth as it tastes, contains Everclear.
Now, since the disclaimer is out of the way….let’s get to it!!! If you have never had, or prepared, Limoncello; you are in for a treat. It is a long process, but if you start now, it will be ready to sip on just in time for when those precious rugrats get out of school for summer break. And Lord knows, we will need all the help we can get to survive summer break.
First, you will need these ingredients.
Phase 1- One Bottle (750 ml) Everclear
One Bottle (750 ml) Vodka
20 large lemons
Phase 2 (Finishing)- Four cups sugar
Four cups water
1. Wash the lemons in hot water and clean. Rinse.
2. Peel the lemons making sure not to peel any of the white part under the peel (the pith). Use a super-sharp vegetable peeler. Try to keep the peel in long strips.
3. Place the lemon peels in a large glass container (a container with lid) with the vodka and Everclear.
4. Place jar in a cool place where it can be undisturbed. Swirl the lemon peel and alcohol mixture daily in the jar. Just a few swirls to mix up the Lemons, will do. This step can last as little as two weeks or up to four months. (sign so that no one in the house touched it)
We started off with a hearty plastic container….but after two weeks, moved it to a glass pitcher and covered with Tin Foil. We also let it ferment/sit for 5 weeks.
1. Remove the bigger peels with a slotted spoon. I keep the peels to the side and bagged them in small pint size freezer bags. They make EXCELLENT garnish to all types of cocktails.
2. Strain the entire mixture through coffee filters or cheesecloth to remove impurities. If you don’t have a cheese cloth, just be careful to pour out ONLY the liquid.
3. Make a syrup by combining the sugar and water in a heavy saucepan. Bring to a boil, stirring occasionally. Let it boil for at least seven minutes. (Day Drinking Tee…thought it was necessary to wear)
4. Let syrup cool to room temperature. VERY important step.
5. Combine cooled syrup with strained lemon/alcohol mixture. The combined mixture will be creamy looking, light yellow in color—this is how it is supposed to look.
6. Bottle, using a funnel. We ordered one dozen 8 oz swing top glass bottles, and it was good.
7. Deliver bottle to me via FedEx… 😉
Bottled mixture should be allowed to rest at room temp for at least one week, allowing the syrup and the alcohol to “marry”.
After one week, store bottle(s) in the freezer. Keep in the freezer at all times, treat it like gold…trust me on this one. It will not freeze.
HINT: The longer you allow it to ferment/sit with the lemons, the better the lemon taste and less of a bite. It makes a GREAT mixer in a glass of Champagne (just a tablespoon will do) sugar the rim of the glass and use the lemon slice/peel as a garnish.
Remember, this is to SIP….for the love of all things holy, do not pour yourself or your guests full shot glasses of this without proper market research (take it slow)…..and not on a school night. 🙂 You have been warned. Special shout out to Amy W. and Paul M. for keeping the recipe going strong in Louisiana.
Cheers and Enjoy!