when life hands you lemons… make limoncello!

This refreshing liqueur “takes the cake” when it comes to warm weather dessert.

Eugenia Uhl Photograph

Traditionally served throughout Italy as an after-dinner digestivo, limoncello is now making its mark on dessert menus at posh eateries from San Francisco to Southampton. Although many Americans associate dessert with something fresh from the oven or, more likely, the neighborhood bakery, their taste buds are getting tipsy for this sweet treat that is neither bitter nor sour. For an authentic experience, serve limoncello in small chilled ceramic glasses like those produced along Italy’s Amalfi Coast.

Limoncello

Peels –– no pith –– from 12 Meyer lemons or a mixture of lemons and limes
3 sprigs lavender (optional) 
2 liters light rum or vodka
6 cups sugar
3 cups water

• Put the lemon peels, lavender (if using) and rum or vodka in a container, and let stand for 4 weeks.

• Strain the mixture into a decanter.

• Mix the sugar and water in a medium saucepan, and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat, and simmer until the sugar has    dissolved. Let the syrup cool before adding it to the rum or vodka mixture.

• Serve in small aperitif glasses.

• Store in the freezer for up to a year.

Recipe by Michael Chiarello

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Reader Comments:
Aug 2, 2010 02:28 pm
 Posted by  Anonymous

Hi Margaret,
Since I have a Mayer lemon tree I am motivated to lemoncello each year. My recipe is basically the same as the one above sans the lavender. I'll have to try adding that this year. I've also made basilcello and may even venture rosmarycello in the future. Today is so hot it would be a good time for a glass. I've also mixed with soda to cut the alcohol and sweetness and make a spritzer of sorts. Regards to your inlaws-Lorre Lei Jackson

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