Limoncello is an aperitif liqueur typical of southern Italy, especially along the Almalfi coast and Sorrento. It is commonly enjoyed after a meal of pizza, etc. The lemons of the Amalfi coast produce a particularly rich zest (yellow, outer part of the rind) which gives it its depth of flavor. These flavors are efficiently extracted with 95% alcohol, then the extract is diluted with a sugar syrup to make the finished liquer. Once you filter out the particulates and thoroughly chill it, it is ready to consume. Aging does not improve the flavor.
Home made Italian Liqueur Limoncello
Peel the zest from 9 lemons, preferably organic. Scrub the outside of the lemons if in doubt. Avoid the white as much as feasible, it is bitter.
30 ounces of 190 proof alcohol such as “Everclear” etc. (900 mL or half of a 1.75 liter bottle). (May not be available in some State or in the UK? *See footnote below.)
25 ounces table sugar (sucrose)
22 ounces boiling water
1) Peel or grate the zest from 9 large fresh lemons (preferably organic: they should be clean of pesticides and added wax on the surface).
2) Suspend the zest in 30 ounces of 190 Proof alcohol for 48 to 72 hours (up to a week) in a sealed container.
3) Dissolve 25 oz. sugar in 22 ounces of boiling water. Boil briefly to thoroughly dissolve the sugar.
4) Cool the syrup to near room temperature and stir into the lemon extract mixture.
5) Refrigerate the mixture for 24 hours.
6) Strain into bottles and store in the freezer.
Serve ice cold in aperitif glasses.
* If it it is illegal to purchase 190 proof alcohol where you live, you can use 60 ounces of 100 proof vodka to extract the flavor from the lemon zest. Then dissolve the 25 ounces of sugar in 12 oz of water with boiling. Cool, and mix with the extract. The liquor will not be quite as potent either in lemon flavor or alcoholic content, but delicious, none-the-less.