Homemade Limoncello

Mixologist and restaurateur Joe Campanale shows how to macerate lemon and vodka to make the Italian liqueur limoncello. Enjoy this crisp citrus after-dinner drink from the Amalfi Coast, at home, or give it to friends and family as an edible gift.

Video Transcript

Hi, I'm Joe Campanale for eHow.com. Today, we're going to make Limoncello. Limoncello is a typical Italian after dinner drink. And it comes from the Amalfi coast, especially around the town of Cilento. Limoncello's also something that we serve in our restaurants. And you'll probably see it in most Italian restaurants across the country. And the idea is that it's based on lemons. For our homemade Limoncello, we really like to use these Meyer lemons, because they're really light and floral and aromatic. But if you can't find them, you can definitely use your regular old lemons. What I like to do is soak the lemons in water with just a little bit of white vinegar, just to remove any of the waxy film from the outside and any dirt or impurities. Then you take your peeler and you want to peel the lemons, but just get the outside peel. You want to make sure you're not getting any pits. So,if you see that, there's very little white. Peel your lemons into a clean jar, like this one. You know, something else I really like to do is experiment with different sort of citrus fruit. You can do lime limecello. You can do orange and do an orangecello. Even, you know ruby red grapefruit goes really well. And I call that rubycello. So, now that you've, try to fill it up about half way, and you take your vodka and fill up your jar with vodka about two thirds of the way or just enough to cover the lemon peels. And then you're going to close the jar and you can let this soak, or as we say, macerate for about one to two months. I taste it along the way at about the one month time, and then a week later and a week after that just to see how it's coming along. You're going to know that your limoncello is ready when the lemon peels start to lose their color and your liquid starts to turn nice and yellow like this jar here which has been macerating for about two months. Now, let's say it's two months later, your ready to strain your lemons. So, take your jar and just a strainer and you're going to put it into another container, try not to spill like me. To our lemon and vodka solution we're going to add some simple syrup. And it's called simple syrup because it's actually really easy to make. And it's something that every bartender has behind the bar. All simple syrup is equal parts sugar and water. And there are two ways to make it. You can make it on the stove, and you add 50 percent sugar, 50 percent water and just stir it until it dissolves or you can do it in a bottle. And in a bottle you'll do the same thing, but you just shake it vigorously until again, until all the sugar is dissolved into the water. So, now you want to add your simple syrup to your limoncello. And what I do is just taste it along the way just to make sure it's the right level of sweetness. For me it's usually about one third simple syrup to two thirds of your vodka lemon mixture. I like to close it up and store it for another couple of days. You can actually store this in the freezer and it won't freeze. Sort of icy cold after dinner as a really refreshing way to end a meal. I think that there's no wrong time to do it, but certainly on those really hot summery days, nothings better than a nice icy glass of limoncello. And one interesting fact about limoncello is that it was originally used as an anti scurvy medication on long voyages. And the ships would dock in the Amalfi coast where lemons were really growing prolifically. And they would make these limoncellos because it would last so much longer than if you were to bring fresh lemons. So, drink some limoncello and don't get scurvy. Thanks so much for watching. I'm Joe CaAmpanale. Come have a glass of limoncello with me here at Anfora or Dell'Anima restaurants here in New York City.

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