Limoncello is the perfect beverage for relaxing with on warm summer evenings.
When life gives you lemons, some people make lemonade. I make Limoncello.
I am the type of person who does not like to waste anything, or throw something away when it can still be used.
I save the liquid left after cooking beans to use as a broth substitute.
The leftover whey from making ricotta cheese goes into smoothies and baked goods.
Peelings from potatoes get tossed with some olive oil, salt and pepper and baked into crispy shoestrings. Better than french fries!
I started making candied citrus peel because I didn’t like to throw the orange and grapefruit shells away. I scrape off the pith, cut the peel into strips and put into the freezer until I’m ready to make into candied peel.
Used coffee grounds go into the garden.
Ground almonds from making almond milk go into granola and the coconut from making coconut milk go into desserts.
I think you are getting the point, right?
And when I juice lemons I save the shells to make my favorite summer sipping beverage, Limoncello. I just toss them in a freezer bag and save them until I get enough to make a batch.
Limoncello is a mixture of sugar, vodka and the juiced lemons. Three ingredients that add up to pure summer sweetness. It is available in liquor stores, but why? It is one of the simplest things to make. It takes about a week to reach its peak flavor, but only requires stirring once a day. Semplice!
If you make homemade lemonade (recipe below) save the shells to make this sweet sipper. An adult lemonade you might say.
Limoncello can be sipped on its own as an after dinner digestif, used in a mixed drink, and used for cooking.
My favorite is to drink it ice-cold, in chilled glasses, slowly savored on the patio on a warm summer evening. I serve this in small glasses because you really do want to drink it cold. When it warms up it becomes cloyingly sweet and loses its refreshing sensation.
- 12 whole lemons
- 1.5 cups sugar
- 1 liter bottle vodka
- Juice the lemons and set aside the juice for another use.
- Cut the juiced shells into quarters.
- Put the juiced lemons in a large pitcher that can be covered and add the sugar.
- Mix the lemon shells with the sugar, pressing down hard on the shells to release any juice (I like to use a potato masher to press on them).
- Add the vodka to the pitcher (set aside the bottle because you will put the finished product back into it).
- Stir well to mix up the sugar.
- Cover and put in the refrigerator.
- After 24 hours stir to combine the sugar.
- Stir once a day until the sugar is dissolved (4 to 7 days). You will need a long spoon because the sugar settles on the bottom.
- When it is ready, put a strainer in a large bowl.
- Pour the contents of the pitcher into the strainer, pressing on the lemons to extract all the liquid.
- Discard the lemons in the strainer. Pour the contents of the bowl back into the vodka bottle using a funnel.
- Cover and store in the freezer.
- If you are using frozen lemon shells, thaw and dry them really well. Any water still on them will freeze in the bottle and water down the drink.
- When pouring the contents back into the vodka bottle I like to do it in the sink. It can get messy and leaves a sticky mess when spilled. ( I am not known for my pouring skills).
I have also included a recipe for lemonade that will get you started on your first batch of Limoncello. This lemonade has made an appearance at many a lemonade stand over the years 🙂 . It is probably what got me started making the liqueur!
- 3 cups lemon juice (about 20 lemons)
- 2 1/4 cups sugar
- 12 cups cold water
- Mix lemon juice and sugar in a large pitcher.
- Add cold water and mix well.
- Serve in a glass over ice.
- Lemons at room temperature will yield more juice.
- Save the juiced lemon shells to make Limoncello. (recipe above)
Now it’s your turn. What is your favorite lemon drink?
I’ll be waiting 😉 .