My first homemade gift for this holiday season shares my love of all things Italian. It is a little Christmas Cheer in a bottle and a vacation to the lovely country of Italy, all in one. My gift is Limoncello, an Italian liqueur that is produced primarily in southern Italy. Its bright yellow color instantly brings a smile to my face and memories of quaint little cafes in Florence and Venice. Slightly sweet with a zesty citrus flavor, but without the bitterness and sourness of a lemon, this Italian liqueur is perfect to sip on a sunny day or at the end of a great meal. It is even used in Lemon Drop martinis as a secret ingredient.
This is a super easy gift to make, and you may like it so much it becomes one of your house specialties. This recipe came from Martha Stewart’s Holiday Handbook 2011. Martha’s version of Limoncello can be completed in a week or less. By comparison, Lidia Bastianich’s recipe in Lidia’s Italy requires a minimum of 60 days. The difference is in the time the mixture hibernates.
|Ingredients for a little vacation in a bottle|
8 Lemons1 Bottle (750 ml) Grey Goose Vodka (or any good, non-flavored vodka)
2 ¼ Cups Sugar
2 ¼ Cups Water
Peel strips of zest from the lemons using a vegetable peeler, and reserve the skinless lemons for another use. Combine the lemon zest and vodka in an airtight container and let stand at room temperature for at least two days or up to a week. At that point, the limoncello is ready to be completed.
|Vodka & Lemon Zest|
Pour the vodka mixture through a sieve into a container and then pour the strained vodka mixture through a funnel into airtight bottles. Reserve the lemon zest for making candied lemon zest to brighten up cocktails, to add to savory or sweet dishes, or to nibble on as a special treat.
Limoncello can be stored in the freezer up to three months.
|Holiday Cheer from the heart!|