By Ippolita Douglas Scotti:
Limoncello is maybe the most famous Italian liqueur in the world.
This delicious lemon liqueur is mainly produced in southern Italy, around the Gulf of Naples. At the beginning of the 20th century, it was customary for the wealthiest Sorrento families to always offer a taste of homemade limoncello to their guests. Many say that the recipe originated inside a monastic convent to delight the monks in between prayers.
Whatever its origin, what is certain is that what makes limoncello special is the type of lemon used for the recipe. In order to be authentic, it must be made from lemons that grow on the famous Costiera Amalfitana. Thanks to the Mediterranean climate, these lemons grow with a thick skin that is rich with essential oils and fragrant with a strong aroma.
The lemon skin is indeed the most important ingredient when making limoncello.
So once you have the right lemons, go ahead and make your limoncello at home using this recipe.
10 organic lemons
34 oz. (1 liter) grain alcohol
51 oz. (1.5 liters) water
25 oz. (700 grams) white sugar
Peel the lemons, making sure to peel only the skin not the white pithy part.
Place the lemon zest in a big jar and add the alcohol.
Seal the jar and let it infuse for 20 days.
After 20 days, you’ll have a bright yellow liqueur.
Create a simple syrup:
Bring the water to a boil. Add the sugar and dissolve. Allow the water to cool.
Once the water has cooled, add the marinated yellow alcohol, using a strainer to strain out the lemon zest.
Return mixture to the jar and mix well for a couple of minutes.
Use a funnel to fill empty glass bottles with the limoncello.
Put one bottle of limoncello in the fridge and store the other ones in a dry, cool place.
Contessa Ippolita Douglas Scotti di Vigileno is a true Italian—born in Florence, Italy, from a long line of eccentric Italian aristocrats, she has traveled the world in search of adventure, romance, and magical, mouth-watering recipes. "Ippo" loves Italian history, especially as it relates to food. Author of There's a Beatle in My Soup, Curcuma e Zenzero (Ginger & Tumeric), 101 Perche Sulla Storia di Firenze (101 questions on Florence History), and Superfoods, Ippo is currently finishing her latest work, The Lords of Florence (all published by Newton Compton Publishers).