I love a drop of limoncello, and for me it’s best served as cold as a polar bears nether regions, straight from the freezer. Anyone who likes this after dinner tipple should take a trip to Sorrento where every street seems to have a shop selling the intoxicating yellow liquid. Commercially manufactured limoncello ranges from a very sweet tasting drink to bright yellow concoctions that scream additives and e numbers.
The best limoncello, in my opinion is the home made variety, and everyone has their own recipe and preference. Friends in Cheshire make a delicious liqueur with a mix of lemon and lime. Using the same process, I’ve made an orange variety, which I wasn’t keen on, a grapefruit one which was mind-numbing but very good; not for people on statin medications though and even a strawberry variety. But it’s the lemon that works best for me and today I started my first batch of 2014.
So for those of you thinking of having a go at it, here’s my recipe:
5 lemons (unwaxed)
1 litre of 95 proof alcohol (a good quality vodka works if you can’t source clear alcohol)
1 litre of water
750g of granulated sugar
1 five litre bottle of red wine (optional)
First drink the 5 litres of red wine so you have a large container to make your limoncello in. It’s probably best you make this a couple of days after the consumption of the wine as you may have a heady hangover. Wash and using a potato peeler, peel the skin from the lemons and drop it into the empty bottle, then add the juice of 4 of the lemons and slice the remaining lemon to drop into gin and tonic later in the day. Try to make sure no lemon pips drop into the jar as these can make the limoncello bitter. Add the litre of alcohol, screw on the lid and wait for 40 days. (There is one school of thought that says the oils from the lemon skins are absorbed in 3 days, but as I’ve never made a 3 day liqueur I can’t vouch for the reliability.)
After 40 days add the sugar to a litre of cold water and put over a low light to dissolve, do not stir the sugar solution as it creates stringy threads in the liquid. Once the sugar has dissolved put the liquid aside to cool down completely. Strain the lemon infused alcohol through a fine sieve to remove any pulp and skin and then add the cold sugar solution. Bottle and store in a cold place, preferably the freezer and drink at your leisure.