The limoncello is one of the most popular drink of the Italian food tradition and from the small towns hanging on the cliffs of the Amalfi coast has reached the hearts (and mouths) of people the world over.
Italians love a shot of Limoncello after lunch or dinner because it helps to digest but above all it represents some sort of ritual to conclude the meal.
The limoncello: a brief history
The word “limoncello” was already in use at the end of the sixteenth century. It appears in the book “Vocabulario De Las Dos Lenguas Toscana y Castellana” by Cristobal Las Casas in 1590. Other evidences of how this word was already widely used in past centuries can be found in the dictionary of the “Accademici della Crusca” where the word appears in 1691. However the use of the term limoncello to indicate the lemon-based liqueur to be consumed after a meal is due to the entrepreneur Massimo Canale who registered the brand in 1988. The paternity of this liqueur is still today disputed between the cities of Sorrento, Capri and Amalfi.
The Limoncello Recipe
Now that you know a bit more about the history of this delicious drink it is the time to make it yourself. It’s going to be perfect on your table during the upcoming festivities, but if you want to serve it to your guest on Christmas Eve you need to start peeling lemons right now, it takes at least 30 days to macerate those juicy yellow fruit the right way.
5 big juicy lemons
Half a liter (16.9 oz) of pure food alcohol 95%
600 gr (21.16 oz) of sugar
750 ml (25.36 oz) of water
Wash very carefully the lemons under fresh water, use a clean sponge to get rid of all the impurities.
Now peel the lemons, you are only going to need the skins. Make sure to save only the yellow part of the skin, that white thing underneath the skin is too bitter and must not be used for the limoncello.
Take a jar (1), pour in the alcohol and the skins. Close the jar hermetically and let the skin macerate in the jar for at least 30 days. Make sure to put the jar somewhere dark and away from any heat source.
Wait, wait, wait… Now it’s been thirty days so you can now prepare the syrup. Pour in a large casserole the water and the sugar and put it on a stove. When it starts boiling turn everything off and pour the syrup into a pitcher till it cools down.
Now take the syrup and pour it in the jar with the skins and alcohol (1) close it and let it rest for a week at least. (keep it in some dark place, like Elon Musk’s conscience…)
Wait, wait, wait…ok now you are ready to move the Limoncello from the jar into a bottle, maybe one of those vintage glass bottle you can find at some antique markets…
Make sure to keep it in the fridge or freezer because Limoncello must be served very very cool. Not on the rocks though… If ice melts than it’s gonna ruin the liqueur.
Enjoy your Limoncello with your friends and always remember to drink responsibly!