Lest you think I'm a lush for all the alcohol-laden recipes I've been posting lately, it really isn't so...But I did promise you that I would post about how to make homemade limoncello, that beverage famous for making a fool out of Danny DeVito on The View some time ago. Evidently, he had been sipping it all night with his good pal George Clooney, and didn't have the good sense to sober-up before hand.
Produced in southern Italy, it is served mainly after dinner as a digestivo. Made from alcohol, lemon peel and sugar, it is so simple to make at home, and homemade limoncello often has a much more lemony flavor than what is sold in the market. It can be sipped on its own or mixed into delicious Lemon Drop Martinis, but it can also be used in recipes both sweet and savory. Giada de Laurentis has a fabulous Limoncello Cheesecake recipe, and Mario Batali uses it to marinate shrimp. I doubled the recipe and plan to give it as Christmas gifts, bottling it into small rubber stopped bottles I found at World Market. I will add a few recipes for my friends to try...that is if they don't drink it all first! The time to make this is now, so it will be ready to give in time for the holidays.
1 bottle of quality vodka
3 1/2 C water
2 1/2 C sugar
Peel lemons carefully, removing any white pith stuck on peel with a sharp knife. Pour vodka into a large glass container and drop in peel. Cover tightly with plastic (or use a large jar with a rubber sealed glass top) and let sit in a cool place for 10 days, swirling the jar every day. On the 10th day, make a simple syrup out of the sugar and water (bring sugar and water to a boil until sugar dissolves). Allow the simple syrup to cool completely then pour in into the vodka mixture and let sit overnight. Strain out the lemon peel and decant into smaller bottles if desired. Store for up to 1 month in the fridge.