Anyone out there keeping score on my lemon-growing prowess? Back in November I showed you my lemon tree in its quest towards eventual liberation as the Italian after-dinner drink limoncello. That was then.
This is now:
We're getting close, folks! Soon we'll be picking these to make limoncello. Limoncello is a lemon-flavored liqueur sipped in a small shot glass after dinner, typicial of the Campania region (Tracie B., you must be an expert!). Last year we tried making it for the first time and it took us about a month and a half, since it's an infusion so it has to sit to soak up the lemon flavor. Alessandro did it without any recipe (sometimes it seems to me that many Italians are born pre-programmed with a cookbook in their heads) and it came out great, but I found a very detailed recipe in English here, from Deborah Horn at Slow Travel. So, in case you have lemons in your garden or even if not, and you just want to try your hand at this, take a look. Deborah's recipe indicates about 40 days, but there are many recipes and many variations online if you decide to search around. Some take as few as six days, but I suggest you go for the long-haul recipe because the flavor will come out better in the end. It's not difficult to make, just takes a bit of time.
The most important ingredient, obviously, is the lemons. Best if you have a tree that you pick them from so you can use them immediately, but if not, just try to get the freshest lemons possible. One recipe I saw suggested they be used just after they turn yellow, even with some green spots remaining. Sometimes limoncello is made with vanilla and cream and becomes crema di limoncello, a thicker liqueur with a softer flavor.
Have you ever made limoncello or tried it? Do you have a favorite brand or variation?