I remember the first time I drank Limoncello. It was on my first trip to Rome and we had just arrived that day. We had a celebratory dinner in one of the “glass house restaurants” on the via Veneto. After the meal, the waiter offered it to us free of charge. I think that is when I fell in love with Italy!
I’ve decided to try and make Limoncello! I searched many recipes and finally decided on one that says it is authentic from Sorrento. I laughed when I looked at recipes in English versus recipes in Italian. They were different in the exact ways you would expect. The English ones had more sugar and waiting times of about 2 weeks. The Italian ones have less sugar and waiting times of about 2 months. I went with the Italian one, even though it means buying limoncello off the shelf through most of the summer. Here is the recipe.
10-12 Sorrento Lemons
1 Liter of 95 proof alcohol
700 grams of sugar
1 liter of water
For the first step. Wash the lemons well and peel with a vegetable peeler, taking care not to get into the white part of the lemons. The peel is the only part of the lemon you will use for the limoncello. I use a lot of lemon juice so I decided to juice the lemons before I started to peel them. This might make peeling more difficult but at least I didn’t waste the rest of the lemon! I put the juice in an ice tray and froze for later use.
Put the peel in a glass container (large enough to hold more than 2 liters of liquid plus the peel) and cover with 700 cl of the alcohol. Keep the top on the jar or make a tight seal with plastic wrap. Cover the jar with aluminum foil and put in a dark dry place for 30 days.
Second step. After the thirty days is up. Heat the sugar and water together until dissolved. Do not boil. Let the syrup cool. Add the cooled syrup and the rest of the 1 liter of alcohol 300 cl. Cover with the aluminum foil again, and hide it away for another 40 days. At the end of this time, Drain the liquid from the peels, put into bottles, store in the freezer and serve it after a meal for a delicious, refreshing finish!