One of the few spirits you can make yourself (other than bathtub gin), and ubiquitous in Southern Italy, this sweet liqueur made from lemon zests is an excellent refresher for summer. Brands such as Capri, Pallini, D’Amalfi, Giori and Limoncé are readily available and make for a delicious chilled after-dinner digestif, as it is traditionally served, but nothing beats the fun and satisfaction of making your own. It’s not like you can whip up a batch of bourbon with simple ingredients and stuff around the house. What does it take? 10 cups of sugar, lemons, grain alcohol and six weeks. A few other things too, but it’s worth it. Go to lipulse.com for the official Lupo family recipe, courtesy of Pulse’s Regina Lupo. Always serve cold.
10 lemons (Femminello St. Teresa lemons are best, but not necessary)
10 cups of sugar
1 large 1.75-liter bottle of grain alcohol (can substitute vodka)
Peel lemons. Be careful not to get the pith (white part of the skin) because it adds a bitter flavor.
Mix all lemon skins and grain alcohol and seal in large jar or container.
Let soak for 4-6 weeks, agitating regularly, in a dark cool area. (The color of the alcohol will change from white to yellow as oil is released.)
Fill the empty grain alcohol bottle with water and pour into a large pot.
Add 10 cups of sugar. Let it come to a light boil and then remove from heat. Do not overheat.
This is called a simple syrup mixture.
Strain alcohol and discard peels.
Mix simple syrup and alcohol.
Stir and bottle in your most attractive glass vessel(s) with rubber stopper, screw cap or cork top. Seal cork with wax, if you plan to store or gift.
Store in freezer.
Drink chilled in a small glass after dinner.
Limoncello is also terrific in mixed drinks:
1oz fresh lemon juice
¾oz simple syrup
1 lemon slice
Shake all ingredients with ice and strain in cocktail glass. Garnish with lemon slice.