I am sure many of you have seen the movie, Under the Tuscan Sun. Well it so happens to be one of my favorite movies and I watch it at least once a year. It fulfills my travel whims: food, architecture, friends, really all my loves in one movie. It stars Diane Lane and she is superb in this. If you have not seen it I encourage you to check it out.
Well about half way through the movie she falls in love with a handsome gentleman from Italy. He takes her to meet his family for dinner and at the end of the meal they bring out some homemade Limoncello that his family makes every year. This drink looked wonderful! On a side note I dream of traveling to Italy some day, for some reason I have always been drawn to Italy! Anyone else feel the same?
Well following the first viewing and being a curious sort I researched limoncello, thinking what is this wonderful little aperitif, I must try this! Where have you been all my life? It sounded amazing and it covered an important food group, fruit. Right? So then I looked at several recipes to find the perfect one and it turns out they are all pretty much the same. Three simple ingredients…lemons, clear liquor, and sugar.
I made it and it was wonderful and a nice finish to a spicy Italian dish I might add.
5 ripe lemons, get ones with no green. Organic is best as you’ll use the outer skin and we don’t want pesticides in our Limoncello. Oh NO!
375 ml Ever Clear
Wash the lemon well. Using a potato peeler peel the thinnest outer part of the skin, you don’t want any white as it will turn bitter.
Place your peels in the Ever Clear and place in a dark, cool spot such as a pantry or closet for 45 days until peels are colorless. Shake occasionally.
After 45 days:
1 cup sugar
22 oz. water
Combine in a sauce pan and bring to a simmer, stir to dissolve; set aside to cool.
Strain the lemon peels from the Ever Clear and discard peel or see below*. In a large bottle of your choice pour the Ever Clear and sugar solution in together. Place back in the pantry or dark cool closet for 30 days. If the appearance is cloudy you may want to run it through a coffee filter. It’s ready after 30 days.
*I gave these as gifts one year and in the case of the lemon peels rather than toss I rolled them in sugar to garnish desserts. I usually don’t care for sweet wine, tea or other drinks but I make an exception here.