Italy’s illustrious spirit. Limoncello, Italy’s lovely lemon liqueur is a summer favorite of mine. Traditionally, lemon liqueur is made from the zest of Femminello St. Teresa lemons, which are also known as Sorrento lemons. Sorrento, Amalfi, Naples, Corsica – anywhere warm and sunny along the Mediterranean — has started making limoncello.
My current go-to comes from Re:find Distillery. Made in Paso Robles, their Limoncello Liqueur has a sweet lemon nose and is silky, smooth and creamy-textured; sweet lemon with a touch of rind.
You can also try making your own limoncello at home. It’s usually made from Femminello St. Teresa lemons, but the more common Eureka lemons will work too.
- Soak the zest of lemons, or peels without the white pith, in grain alcohol. Clear spirits are perfect. I specifically say “without the pith” (the white part under the peel), because the pith is bitter and unappetizing.
- Once the desired lemon flavor is met, mix the batch with simple syrup until you hit a palatable sweetness. Bear in mind, limoncello is supposed to be tart
- Pour your limoncello into sanitized bottles with a cap or rubber stopper, and store it in the fridge.
Now the traditional way to serve limoncello is over ice, after dinner as a digestive. Ideally, your glass should be chilled as well. Limoncello is about 30 to 35% alcohol, so it also makes a low-alcohol mixer. It is great when mixed with sparkling wine – I suggest a sweeter one, such as Moscato, which is also relatively inexpensive.