Who can ever pass up buying a glass of lemonade from a child’s lemonade stand? We can’t. Usually, the overly sugary nonalcoholic drink is not our normal beverage, but the experience makes it delightful. This gets us to thinking about more spirited drinks that are lemon-based. We immediately think Limoncello!
Limoncello is a lemon liqueur produced in the south of Italy, where the world’s best lemons are grown. It’s made from lemon rinds, alcohol (often Grappa, but Vodka is used, as well as grain alcohol), water, and sugar. And it’s best drunk cold. Invented in Sicily about 100 years ago, it’s a terrific drink during hot days or after dinner.
Several years ago Limoncello became infamous when Danny DeVito appeared on The View after a night of Limoncello consumption with his pal, George Clooney. Barbara Walters (in the days when The View was worth watching) was not too happy, but it was funny – and makes one appreciate the power of too much of this drink.
While you can buy bottles of Limoncello at wine and spirits stores, it’s easy to make. The ingredients are simple and few, but you’ll need some time. For best quality, the Limoncello should steep for at least four days.
1 bottle (750-ml) vodka
3 cups white sugar
4 cups water
Using vegetable peeler, remove the peel from the lemons. Place the peels in a two-quart pitcher. Pour the vodka over the peels and cover with plastic wrap. Steep the mixture for four days at room temperature.
Dissolve the sugar and water in a saucepan and heat at medium heat until the sugar dissolves – about five minutes. Cool completely. Pour sugar mixture over vodka. Cover and keep at room temperature overnight.
Strain and discard the lemon peels. Transfer mixture to a bottle and freeze. Serve in chilled cordial glasses.
Barbara and Beverly