How many remember that pop culture moment in 2007 when Danny DeVito stumbled onto a morning television talk show following an all-night limoncello bender with George Clooney? Signore DeVito bottles his own brand of the Italian Liqueur these days, as do I. I suspect his is a bit more commercially successful. I'd claim it was an old secret family recipe, but I'm the only one in the family who's ever made it and I'm only Italian-by-Marriage. It's actually a recipe that I developed myself after watching Marcello and Frances sip the tempting brew on the beach at Positano in Under the Tuscan Sun. I mean, who wouldn't be inspired by Marcello.. er, I mean, that stunning Amalfi coast scenery? After much trial and error and many resultant bottles of barely drinkable alcohol, I find this recipe works well. It may be a bit on the sweet side for some, so if you like your drink drier, omit some of the sugar and cut down the water accordingly. Limoncello is an amazingly refreshing after dinner drink, or something to sip on while sitting on the deck at dusk. Or after a hard day at work. Or poured over ice cream. Or as a topping for pound cake. Or ...well, let's be honest, I don't really need a reason. Stored in the freezer and served ice cold, this will keep for months.
1 bottle plus 2 cups vodka (must be at least 100 proof to prevent freezing)
6 cups sugar
6 cups water
Using a vegetable peeler
or very sharp paring knife, peel the skin from the lemons in long strips being
careful to get only the yellow outer skin and avoiding the white pith. (the pith
will cause the product to turn bitter). Place the lemon peels in a 2 quart or
larger glass jar with a lid and pour vodka over peels. I often add the juice of
one or two lemons as well, depends on my mood. Let the jar sit in a cool, dark
place for at least a week. The vodka will turn yellow and the lemon rinds will
pale. Strain the vodka to remove the peels. Bring the sugar and water to a boil
in a large pan and boil for approximately 15 minutes to make a sugar syrup. Cool. Add the lemon infused vodka and mix well. Pour into bottles and store in the freezer. Enjoy in cordial glasses when well chilled!