When I think of Lemoncello, I think Italy (never been) and all of the beautiful coastline towns that cliff the striking blue Mediterranean waters. Right now, that is where I would like to be – sipping lemoncello on a terrace covered with vines and lemons hanging off vines all around.
I am a fan of fun cocktails and a fan of lemons – so this was something I always wanted to make. My first taste of Lemoncello was when my mother in law brought back a bottle as a gift from her trip to Italy. We stored the bottle in the freezer and when ready for a taste, we poured and enjoyed over ice – close your eyes and just relax.
The base of this Lemoncello is vodka. I would recommend using a vodka that you enjoy its flavor and use for making cocktails. It’s similar to when you add wine in cooking, you want a vodka that you like to drink. Since the vodka is the base of this aperitif, starting with a solid base will give you a great start to this liquor.
Once you start on this, it is all about patience. I have read many different recipes and there is varying times that you let the lemon steep in the vodka. This recipe calls for 7 days, but in the busy week, I went 10 days. Shaking the glass jar periodically, about every other day.
After the patience, well, there is more patience that you will need to dip into. On day 7 (or day 10 in my case), make your simple syrup and let it fully cool. Then add it to the vodka/lemon mix and once again, wait 24 hours. Strain into sealable containers and refrigerate for another 24 hours. As you can see, I used Mason jars – they were easy to funnel the Lemoncello into and give a fun look of prohibition style, like I’m distilling my own moonshine. The whole process will be between 9 to 13 days, depending on how long you steep the lemons in the vodka.
And now…on to inventing new drinks with Homemade Lemoncello…like this one: Bourbon Sunshine! Perfect for a hot summer night.
Zest of 7 lemons
500 ml vodka
1 1/2 cups sugar
Put vodka in a container or mason jar. Wash and scrub all the lemons. Zest all of the lemons, avoiding the white pith under outer layer. Add to the vodka, cover with plastic wrap, and let sit at room temperature for 10 days, shaking or stirring every other day.
Combine sugar with 1 1/2 cups water in a sauce pot on the stove and heat until the sugar is combined to make the simple syrup. Stir frequently at the beginning to prevent the sugar from caramelizing.
Add simple syrup to vodka and let set on the counter for 24 hours. Strain thru cheesecloth or mesh filter into sealable containers. Chill in fridge for 24 hours, then…enjoy!
*Recipe is halved from Food Network Valarie Bertonelli’s Lemoncello.