A couple of years ago, my husband and I wanted to make Limoncello. He is Italian and it’s quite a traditional drink. Me being not Italian enjoyed it as a martini mixer. Ladies, think Lemon Drop Martinis….yum! I looked online and found a lot of “quick recipes” for it that called for 5 days or less. And after lots of research on old school Italian methods we found the traditional method produced high quality Limoncello. We certainly have taste tasted it with friends who are not Italian and every one loves it!
This batch called for 1.5L of Everclear and about 8-10 lemons, depending on size. Organic lemons are best because they don’t have that waxy pesticide yuck on the outside and since you’re only using the peel, you want the very best. I use a micrograter which I believe I got at Target. You only want to remove the yellow portion, NO WHITE. The more white you put in the more tart and bitter it becomes. Some recipes take a standard peeler and peel the rind off…no. You want smooth and delish and not bitter.
Now you’re going to take that micro grater and zest your little heart out.
It should cure in a glass container. I use this one from Wal-Mart for about $6 and I usually tape the lid to give it a good seal. But you can use large Ball Mason Jars, which I’m now using. Now you let it sit for 45 days! Yes, 45 days! A lot of people don’t wait….I know your Momma told you that good things come to those who wait! So wait. It will be worth it.
In 45 days you’re going to strain it.
And you’re going to make a simple syrup. For 1.5L of Everclear I make 5 cups of water with 4 cups of sugar. You cook until the sugar is clear in the water.
And then I generally add it until I’m not feeling like I’m shooting out fire from my lungs. You want smooth. On this batch I added it all!
Taste testing is the fun part. You then bottle it and store it in the freezer for another 45 days, yes, another 45 days. I buy bottles from Ikea and Hobby Lobby and I’ve also found cute ones from Home Goods that are made in Italy. 1.5L makes 2.5 large bottles that can be mixed in martinis, lemonade, or straight.
This is a great mixer. Some of my friends enjoy it just straight. I like it in martinis but I’ve also found it good in sangria. We are working on a batch of lime right now to try with margaritas. We have friends who literally request us making this. It’s fun making something that people enjoy and rave about. Old School Limoncello, love it!