If you have traveled to Italy you’ve probably got used to the local custom of having a digestif after lunch or dinner. Many restaurants and shops offer a wide selection of digestifs for all tastes, but limoncello is one of the most famous.
Everyone loves limoncello!
Limoncello is a traditional liqueur of the Amalfi Coast, but its production has spread all over Southern Italy over the years. Its delicate and intense flavor, its freshness, its right amount of alcohol and its sweet twist not only make limoncello the perfect digestif, but also a versatile ingredient in the kitchen. There are many brands available on the market in Italy and abroad, but have you ever tried the homemade version?
HOMEMADE IS BETTER
Making your own limoncello is very easy; it doesn’t require much work, but only a little patience. Only four ingredients for a final result that is really worth the time you’ve spent waiting before tasting this golden nectar of the gods that, sip after sip, will provide you with a heavenly taste of Italy.
In my family, we are lucky enough to have a beautiful lemon tree in our garden. My mum has been making limoncello for so many years and it’s become so popular among relatives and friends that they always expect a bottle when they see our generous tree full of juicy lemons. So, homemade limoncello makes one of our favorite gift ideas on Christmas or other special occasions.
- 8 organic lemons
- 1 lt of pure alcohol (90°C)
- 1 lt of water
- 700 gr. of sugar
Wash the lemons with a brush, then gently peel them in large strips using a vegetable peeler. Make sure you do not remove the bitter white pith.
Pour alcohol in a large glass jar. Add the lemon zests to the alcohol and cover. Let the jar in a cool dark place for 10 days. Just forget about it for 10 days, do not stir or open the jar, but just take note of the day when the mixture will be ready.
After 10 days, when the alcohol and lemon zests mixture is ready, filter the alcohol using a clean rag. Make a syrup in a large saucepan using water and sugar. Bring it to boil and let it boil gently for about 6 minutes. Let the syrup cool down, then mix it to the alcohol and pour limoncello in the bottles.
For a better result, wait 2-3 months before tasting your limoncello. Keep your bottles of limoncello in the fridge, or even better in the freezer (together with a couple of little glasses!)
OTHER WAYS TO SERVE LIMONCELLO
Limoncello is a great after-dinner digestive but it can be used in many alternative ways. Here are some suggestions, but you can find your own way to taste limoncello other than just drinking it. Cooking is all about curiosity and experimentation!
- Add limoncello to enhance the flavor of fruit salad, fresh strawberries or ice cream;
- Add a sprinkle of limoncello to soda water for a fresh summer drink;
- Use limoncello to give a special flavor to a simple cake like the Italian Ciambellone ring cake or an apple pie;
- Use limoncello in cocktails;
- Make a limoncello custard.
Wandering how to use the remaining lemons? Make a delicious lemon jam or store the lemon juice in the freezer.
If you have never tried to make homemade limoncello, you don’t know what you are missing!
It’s time to give it a try, and then…let me know!