Limoncello

Homemade is always best!  I love this Italian liqueur, and making limoncello is a snap. It only requires a bit of patience, as the whole process requires about 5 days.  This delightful concoction stays in the refrigerator, at the ready for an adult beverage on a leisurely summer afternoon or evening.  If you're an on-the-rocks lover, this will make you happy, indeed.  I like it as a component to a variety of drinks; there are several recipes using limoncello coming, a Strawberry-Lemon Bellini with a virgin version this month!  (Feel free to halve the recipe to start, or if you don't think you need that much in your refrigerator!)

10 lemons

1 bottle vodka (750-ml)

3 1/2 cups water

1/2 cup strained freshly-squeezed lemon juice

3 cups sugar

Using a vegetable peeler, remove the zest from the lemons, being careful not to take the white part.  (Remove any white pith from the peels with a paring knife.)  Place the peel into a 2 quart non-reactive container, preferably glass.  Pour the vodka over the peels and cover with a lid or plastic wrap.  Let the peels steep in the vodka for 4 days at room temperature.

Stir together the water, lemon juice, and sugar in a large saucepan over medium heat until the sugar dissolves completely, 5-8 minutes.  Cool completely.  Pour the lemon simple syrup mixture into 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 it will keep in the refrigerator up to 1 month.

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