This Italian liquor is deeply rooted in the south of Italy in the province of Sorrento and Amalfi and is normally made from the zest of Femminello St. Teresa Lemons, chosen specially for their aroma. Traditionally made by hand, the process is simple but time consuming and delicate.
To attain perfection takes time and making Limoncello is no different. There is no such thing as a quick Limoncello recipe so we are going to do this the hard way… stick with me and I promise you the best Limoncello you have ever tasted, and as a bonus I’ll teach you a fantastic cocktail to make with it.
15 Femminello St. Teresa Lemons or Organic Lemons
1L of grain alcohol at 95C (or vodka)
600g white granulated sugar
Large glass jar or bottle with a lid
HOW TO MAKE: Start by washing and peeling the lemon skin without taking any of the pith (the white bit).
Tip #1: The quality of your lemons will define the quality of your drink. Finding the lemons that limoncello is originally made from will be almost impossible in the UK; however you will be fine with a good quality organic lemon. Make sure you only do this during lemon season as otherwise they would have been stored for too long and lost some of their properties.
Tip #2: The pith will make the liqueur bitter so try your hardest to leave it out. This should result in a peel that is almost see through.
Tip #3: Use a sharp paring knife for this task. Blunt knives require more force on the blade which means a higher chance of you cutting yourself.
Place the peel in a jar, add the alcohol (see pics following pages) and seal. Store it in a dark place for 2 months and shake every 2 days to help release the oils.
Tip #4: Now here is another tricky thing to get in The UK, the alcohol. In Italy you just buy it in the supermarket but here you’ll have to search online spirit shops or talk to your local shop and see if they can get it for you. If you can’t be bothered the best next thing is a high alcohol content, low flavoured drink like Grappa or Vodka.
After 2 months filter the liqueur through a muslin cloth, discard the peels and measure the amount of liquid you have left.
Make a sugar syrup using the ratio of 600g sugar to 1 litre of water, by placing the water in a pan, adding the sugar and placing it over a medium heat. Bring to the boil and mix until all the sugar is dissolved. Leave to cool.
Measure the same amount of syrup that you have of flavoured alcohol and add to the liqueur. Store the bottle in a dark cold place, shaking every two days for a month.
Tip #5: Light affects the colour and the viscosity of the liqueur so make sure to always cover the bottles and jars to prevent that from happening.
Bottle and store in a dark place.
LEMON SIMPLE SYRUP:
100ml fresh lemon juice, strained
100ml simple sugar syrup
10 large mint leaves
25ml lemon simple syrup
1 large lemon wedge
30ml white rum
Sprig of fresh mint, for garnish (optional)
Lemon wedge, for garnish (optional)
HOW TO MAKE:
In a small saucepan stir together the lemon juice and sugar until dissolved, over medium heat,. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for about 10 minutes until mixture is thick and syrupy.
Tip #6: This will keep for a while so store in a jar in the fridge for future use. Use in about 2 weeks
Grab a tall glass and add the mint leaves and the syrup and stir.
Squeeze a lemon wedge into the glass and fill the rest of the glass with ice. Pour the rum, limoncello and top it with the sparkling water.
Give a quick stir before serving garnished with a sprig of mint and a lemon wedge.