An Italian Specialty Perfect for Summer (oh heck, anytime really!)
Impress your friends, amp up your dinner parties, or simply enjoy a sip or two on a hot Aberdeen day.

An Italian Specialty Perfect for Summer (oh heck, anytime really!)

Limoncello, an Italian specialty, can be easily made at home with a bunch of lemons and a lot of time. It can be enjoyed as a refreshing shot, an after-dinner palate cleanser, or as an ingredient for many other delicious treats like a lemon drop martini or cake. Please note, this does include alcohol, so unless you cook it in a recipe, it is not suitable for children. Photo by Troy McQuillen

This recipe is a bit different in that it doesn’t really have any local or seasonal connection. It’s just something that came highly recommended by Aberdeen Magazine’s friend, Candace Briscoe. 

Candace has devoted her life to good health via nutrition, exercise, and chemical-free living. She is the proprietor of Profiling Beauty and Fit and Fire Yoga Studio. She and her husband, Paris, have been restoring and revitalizing the old Allied Moving Company building (formerly Ward Candy) for over a decade. The building, on First Avenue Northeast, is now known as the Briscoe Building. 

On a trip to Italy’s Amalfi Coast a few years back, Candace experienced two separate ailments (allergy and upset stomach), and both times Limoncello was recommended by restaurant servers. To her surprise, the stiff, sweet elixir cured her symptoms both times. She was hooked and began making it at home ever since. 

According to one online source, “Lemons have long been a staple in the region along the Italian Amalfi Coast in Capri and Sorrento. Because of this, the city’s most famous product is its Limoncello. Families in Italy have passed down recipes for generations, as every Italian family has its own Limoncello recipe. In fact, this lemon drink is now considered the national drink of Italy and can be found in stores and restaurants all over the country” (What’sCookingAmerica.net). Any travel show that features Italy almost always mentions Limoncello as a must-have souvenir.

This lemon drink is wonderful as a palate cleanser or as an after-dinner sip. It’s perfectly fresh for spring and delightfully cold and refreshing for hot summer days. Store your bottles of Limoncello in the freezer until ready to serve. The ingredients are simple, and making a batch is easy, but you need to plan ahead. The magic is in the steeping process. Candace and many online recipes say 10 days, while authentic Italian-inspired recipes say 80 days. Here is Candace’s 10-day recipe. // –Troy McQuillen

Ingredients

  • 8 lemons, zest only*
  • 2 limes, zest only*
  • 1 750 mL bottle Vodka 
  • 3 1/2 cups sugar 
  • 2 1/2 cups water 

*Candace highly recommends a zester because it’s critical not to get any of the white pith attached to the zest into the recipe (it will make it bitter). Wash the fruit to ensure no wax or residue is on the rind. You can zest the fruit with a vegetable peeler, creating long strips. Then, you can scrape any pith off the backside with a spoon, but it can be tedious. 

Instructions

Combine the zest into a glass pitcher or jar that will hold all the vodka and zest. It should seal, or you can seal it with cling film and a rubber band. Add all the vodka. Make sure the zest is covered, seal it, then stow it away on the counter for 10 days (or more if you’re really patient). 

After 10 days, in a pot, boil the sugar and water for 5 minutes until the sugar is completely dissolved. Set aside and allow to cool completely. Strain the vodka and discard the zest. Add the simple syrup to the vodka in an attractive jar or container. Chill in the fridge for at least an hour. Can be stored for up to a month in the refrigerator or freezer. 

How to use it

Aside from enjoying a shot or two of Limoncello after a meal, it can also be an excellent ingredient to many lemon-infused items. We experimented with a light cake with lemon icing and a lemon drop martini. Feel free to search the internet for recipes that include Limoncello. Baked items will eliminate the alcohol; therefore, your kids can enjoy tangy treats made with Limoncello too. 

Remember, this takes nearly two weeks to make. So get your batch of Limoncello started today!