First, we start with the lemons.
Picked and ready to use (at home)
We have tried several recipes, from Giada De Laurentis (Everyday Italian), Gabriele Corcos and Debi Mazar (Extra Virgin), and, our favorite, from a Cinque Terre calendar we received from our friends, Matteo and Carla, at Hotel Villa Steno in Monterosso al Mare.
Our favorite recipe
We've tried the recipe with Everclear grain alcohol and with vodka and have settled on vodka as the right ingredient, a little less harsh. We peel the rinds of 1 kg (2.2 pounds) of our lemons and soak them in 1 liter (.26 gallons) of low-cost vodka from our local Safeway for a week, storing the mixture in mason jars in a cool, dark location.
Mason jars with the vodka/lemon peel mixture
Cinque Terre calendar (showing Vernazza) and recipe
Dissolve sugar in water
Sugar/water mixture ready to mix with lemon/vodka
All together, sitting another 1/2 day
We strain out the lemon peels, bottle, and enjoy
Straight up or on ice with prosecco and Pellegrino (limoncello spritz)