Limoncello is a traditional Italian lemon beverage, very refreshing and delicious. It is also a popular homemade liqueur, usually consumed as an aperitif, which is a palate cleanser, and served before or after a meal. Limoncello is produced mostly in Southern Italy, by the Gulf of Naples and the Sorrentine Peninsula. It is also known as limoncino in the northern Italy area, and there is not exact data about the origin of this drink, but some people believe it is at least 100 years old.
Limoncello has a slightly turbid appearance, due to the presence of small (approx. 100 nanometers) essential oil droplets suspended in the drink. The spontaneous emulsification of hydrophobic essential oils in alcohol/water mixtures is often referred to as the ouzo effect. Limoncello has about a 30% alcohol content so, it may jump start your digestive enzymes, and it must be consumed chilled. Here is a simple recipe for you.
- 5 lemons (organic or unwaxed).
- 1/4 cup honey.
- 500 ml. vodka.
- 500 ml. water.
- Peel the lemons using a vegetable peeler (be sure you only peel the yellow skin, since the white pith will make the drink very bitter).
- Place the lemon skins and vodka in a closed container, leave it in a dry dark and dark area for about a week, or until it infuses the lemon flavors completely.
- After a week, place water and honey in a pan and place it in the stove at medium heat, stirring constantly until the honey dissolves.
- Remove from heat and let it cool.
- Strain the liquid from the infused lemon peel. By this time it should be yellow and aromatic.
- Combine the honey liquid with the infused vodka and place it in a glass bottle, be sure it has a tight lid.
- Chill and store in the fridge, it can last up to one year in the fridge or freezer.
- Chill at least 4 hours before serving. Garnish with a lemon slice.
Note: You can also modify step 2, leaving the peel 1-4 weeks in the vodka for infusion, the longer you leave it, the best and smoother favor you will obtain, as it matures with age. More water will dilute the alcohol base, making a less alcoholic, milder, and smoother-sipping liqueur. More honey will make a sweeter limoncello, so feel free to modify this recipe at taste.