Friday, August 26, 2016

Limoncello (Limoncino)

As our lemons ripen, we think of limoncello, the Italian lemon liquor.  This will be our third year to make limoncello and each batch is a little better.  However, we'll never catch up with the experience of our friends in Italy, who have been making it in their family for generations.

First, we start with the lemons.

 Lemons at home

Lemons in Monterosso al Mare, Italy

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

We next prepare a syrup by heating and dissolving 800g (1.8 pounds) of sugar in 1 liter (.26 gallons) of water.  After it cools, we then mix the syrup with the vodka and rinds and let the mixture stand for another 12 hours.

 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)

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