Barb Giacomini’s Limoncello
(Makes two 750-milliliter bottles)
Keep your bottles of limoncello in the freezer until ready to serve. The ingredients are simple and few, and making a batch doesn’t require much work, but you’ll need some time. Limoncello must steep for 80 days. Giacomini says a glass jar is key to preserving flavor. Also important, she says, is to use a vegetable peeler to get just the yellow from the lemon, as the bitter white pith can spoil the concoction.
15 lemons (Choose thick-skinned lemons, as they are easier to zest.)
2 bottles (750 milliliters) 100-proof vodka (These have less flavor than lower-proof versions, and the high alcohol content ensures limoncello will not turn to ice in freezer.)
4 cups sugar
5 cups water
Wash lemons with vegetable brush and hot water to remove potential pesticide residue or wax; pat dry.
Carefully zest lemons with zester or vegetable peeler so there is no white pith on peel. NOTE: Use only outer part of rind. The pith, the white part beneath rind, is too bitter and will spoil your limoncello.
In a large glass jar (one gallon), add one bottle of vodka; add lemon zest as it is zested. Cover jar and let sit at room temperature for at least 10 days and up to 40 days in a cool dark place. The longer it rests, the better the taste will be. (No need to stir — all you have to do is wait.) As limoncello sits, vodka slowly will take on flavor and rich yellow color of lemon zest.
In large saucepan, combine sugar and water; cook until thickened, about five to seven minutes. Let syrup cool before adding to limoncello mixture. Add to mixture, then add additional bottle of vodka. Allow to rest for another 10 to 40 days.
After rest period, strain and bottle, discarding lemon zest. Keep in freezer until ready to serve.