Summer in New England this year has been either rainy and cool or extremely hot and humid. While wishing for that happy medium during this last heat spell, my mother and I started reminiscing about our favorite cool summer treats. On the top of the list is her homemade limoncello. We were too busy enjoying (read: entertaining) Violet and Laela to make a batch, but here is the recipe for the best limoncello you may ever taste. My mother has played around with the amounts of the ingredients to create varying results. I hope you try this recipe and make your own adjustments. Whatever you do, please use a high quality vodka - it makes a huge difference in the taste.
1 (750-ml) bottle vodka
3 1/2 cups water
2 1/2 cups sugar
Using a vegetable peeler, remove the peel from the lemons in long strips (reserve the lemons for another use). Using a small sharp knife, trim away the white pith from the lemon peels; discard the pith.
Place the lemon peels in a 2-quart pitcher. Pour the vodka over the peels and cover with plastic wrap. Steep the lemon peels in the vodka for 4 days at room temperature.
Stir the water and sugar in a large saucepan over medium heat until the sugar dissolves, about 5 minutes. Cool completely. Pour the sugar syrup over the vodka mixture. Cover and let stand at room temperature overnight.
Strain the limoncello through a mesh strainer. Discard the peels. Transfer the limoncello to bottles. Seal the bottles and refrigerate until cold, at least 4 hours and up to 1 month.
photo credit: Becky Luigart-Stayner