06 September 2012

From the Chef: Limoncello

 When Life Hands You Lemons, Make…Limoncello! 
 Casa Fiore #23—July-August, 2006

Limoncino, limoncello, limonetto—whatever you call it, this sweet, sun-drenched yellow jewel is the perfect sip at the very end of a long, fulfilling meal.  Wherever you find lemons in Italy—sunny, romantic places like Camogli, Genova, and San Terenzo on the Italian Riviera or Napoli and the Amalfi Coast—you find this refreshing elixir made from their essential oil.  While this “digestivo” is relatively simple, debate on the correct recipe and proportions rage on.  Though there was a time when “I’d have to kill you” if I shared this highly secretive recipe, times have thankfully changed.  The old and sacred ways, however, still are to be honored and strictly followed.  And so I give you this hallowed and ancient recipe for limoncello passed down to me from my dear Zio Franco, with my own little twist...of lemon. Cherish and respect it!

1. Zest 12 organic lemons (though I do understand the waxy coating on conventional lemons may add a fine hallucinogenic effect to the sipping).  Get just the yellow part—no white pith.  Let soak 7 days in one bottle (750 ml.) of 190 proof grain alcohol (available in Oregon or Idaho—yes, you gotta put some extra effort into this one!  Update:  You can order the stuff on line and they will inexplicably deliver it right to your door.)
2. Make a simple syrup of 4 cups sugar and 5 cups purified water.  Warm until sugar is just dissolved.  Let cool.
3. Strain infused alcohol until all zest particles are removed.  Mix infused alcohol with simple syrup, stir, and bottle. 
4. Store in freezer and serve whenever you are in need of a drop o’ sunshine!

***Lemon-creamsicle?  Try Crema di Limoncello:  Substitute 5 cups whole milk for purified water.

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