LIMONCELLO RECIPE - inspired by Anita who says that everyone should know how to make this stuff. The most important ingredient is time.
- 1 liter of booze - everclear or 100 proof Vodka
- Zest of about 15 good lemons (or peels if you are short on time: just get mostly the lemon and not the white pith). Organic lemons or Italian ocado lemons are good; either way, rinse and dry them off before using.
- Sugar and water
- A sealable container that can hold about 6 cups or more.
Pour the booze into the sealable container and add the lemon zest. Let it sit in a cool dark-ish place for 2 weeks. Shake it gently every 2-3 days. After the two weeks, add simple syrup. Simple syrup is sugar and water in equal proportions, heated so that the sugar completely dissolves - I use my microwave to make it and it is very easy. You do need to cool the simple syrup to room temp, so prepare it ahead of time.
How much simple syrup? Perfect question. You want to end up with limoncello at about 32%-38% alcohol by volume (ABV). Everclear is usually 75.5% ABV (151 proof), so you need to add about the same volume of water to cut that in half. For easy numbers make your simple syrup with about 4 1/2 cups of water to 4 cups of sugar. If you are using a 100 proof Vodka, then make your simple syrup with about 1 1/2 cups of water and 1 cup of sugar. The liquid should get cloudy when you add the simple syrup. REMEMBER both of these ratios assume you are starting with 1 liter of booze. After adding the simple syrup, let it sit for another 2 weeks or longer. Patience is key and it gets a little better the longer it sits.
Strain out the lemon zest of peels and bottle into whatever size bottles you have. Two oz. bottles make nice little gifts; big grolsch bottles make nice big gifts. Put your bottle in the freezer and let it get extremely cold before serving. It is great to sip on just as it is and in small quantitites! You can make all kinds of cocktails with it as well. If you are a fan of iced tea, then add a shot of limoncello and see if you are a bigger fan of limoncello!