Limoncello

Version 1

10 lemons
1 (750-ml) bottle vodka
3 1/2 cups water
2 1/2 cups sugar

Using a vegetable peeler, remove the peel from the lemons in long strips (reserve the lemons for another use). Using a small sharp knife, trim away the white pith from the lemon peels; discard the pith. Place the lemon peels in a 2-quart pitcher. Pour the vodka over the peels and cover with plastic wrap. Steep the lemon peels in the vodka for 4 days at room temperature.

Stir the water and sugar in a large saucepan over medium heat until the sugar dissolves, about 5 minutes. Cool completely. Pour the sugar syrup over the vodka mixture. Cover and let stand at room temperature overnight. Strain the limoncello through a mesh strainer. Discard the peels. Transfer the limoncello to bottles. Seal the bottles and refrigerate until cold, at least 4 hours and up to 1 month.

Version 2

6 sorrento Lemons skins, cut off not peeled (unwaxed)
1 litre of the 98% proof alchohol (a tad difficult to source in the UK)
1 kg of granulated sugar
1 litre of water

De-skin the lemons and place in a large conatiner (i usually add some juice from 2 of the lemons). Poor the 98% proof booze over the top and leave to 4 weeks, shaking/ mixing occasionally, (remember this alchohol will evapourate so seal the container).
remove the lemon rind from the liquid, (it should have taken some colour on by now), boil the water and add the sugar to make a syrup. Cool for 15-20 minutes and add the 2 liquids.
Hey presto an authentic Limoncello, bottle and store in the freezer, remember to serve ice cold.

Tips. All my mates got slaughtered in this at new year, it is 50% proof, you may want to water it down, or not!
Also, any citrus can be used, Arancello (orange) is seen occaisionally in Italy, and today i have made pomplecello (gratefruit). Can’t wait (hic)

Version 3

750 ml bottle 80-proof vodka
8 or 10 large lemons (preferribly organic, the skins should give off a heavenly lemon sent)
3 cups water
3 cups sugar
For this recipe you also need a 1 litre glass jar with a sealed lid. The jar should be washed and rinsed very well or sterilized. You don’t want anything in your limoncello but what you put there.

You will also need the bottles you want to put the final brew in.

Directions:

Step 1
Wash and dry the lemons. Only use the ones without blemished peels or pare off any spots and the stems, ends.
Remove the peel from the lemons with a sharp peeler or fine grater, carefully avoiding the bitter white pith. If any white pith remains on the back of a strip of peel, scrape it off. If you get any of the white part in the batch, the limoncello will be bitter and you don’t want that!
Put the peels in a glass jar and add the vodka about two inches below the top and seal tightly.
Leave the jar to steep in a cool, dark place until the peels lose their color, for at least 2-3 months. Every couple of weeks swirl the peels around in the jar to mix up the oils in the alcohol, plus I just like to check in on it!

Step 2
Put the water and sugar in a saucepan, stir and slowly boil until it turns clear. Let the syrup cool.
Put the cooled syrup in the jar with the lemons (you might have to divide the batch into two jars at this point, depending on the size of your jar).
Put the jars back in the closet for at least two weeks. Longer is fine too.

Step 3
Strain out the lemon peels through a coffee filter or cheesecloth and pour the limoncello into another container. Press down to remove all the vodka and oils that you can from the peels before tossing them in the trash.
Stir the liquid with a clean plastic or wooden spoon.
Put the liqueur in clean bottles, seal tightly and leave the finished bottles for at least 1 week before using.
For best flavor and drinking it straight, store the limoncello in the freezer. It shouldn’t freeze because of how much alcohol is in it and it’s wonderful ice cold.

Tips:
Make a double batch at once. Once you taste this or give it away to friends, it goes quickly and people will beg you for more..
You can also make similar liqueurs using other citrus fruits (limes, oranges – using the same proceedure).