My hubby and I come from a long line of amateur wine and liquor makers. My dad ferments wine in his garage (and has for as long as I can remember) and the other day offered us a taste of some homemade coffee liquor my aunt had been storing for over 30 years (it was delicious!). We don’t have the room to make wine (no garage and the basement is too packed with stuff) but we do want to make our own contribution to the family liquor cabinet. So after some trial and error and some translating Italian the following is my hubby’s recipe for Limoncello which we bottled (see photo above) and handed out as Christmas gifts this year:
3 liters grain alcohol (must be grain, vodka doesn’t work)
3.25 liters of water
2 liters simple syrup
Yield: 22 bottles (375 ml each) – see note about quantity below
Remove the fragrant zest of the 24 lemons in large strips (be sure not to include any of the white pith) and place into a large glass container (if doing in multiple smaller containers try to evenly distribute the zest). Fill container with the 3 liters of grain alcohol, cover it and place in a cool dark place to steep for 6 weeks.
After the 6 weeks are up remove the skins and add 3.25 liters of water and 2 liters of simple syrup to the lemony alcohol and mix well. You are now ready to bottle!
Refrigerate before serving (you don’t have to do this but it tastes better cold) and enjoy as an after dinner drink on its own or as I like to – a splash in your espresso.
NOTE: For a smaller batch the ratios of grain to water to sugar are really what matter so here is the ratio: 6 grain, 6.5 water and 4 simple syrup.