Limoncello is a good place to start if you are new to the rewarding past-time of liqueur making. Choose thick, waxy lemons for their high oil content and vodka high in alcohol. The higher the percentage of alcohol the more the flavour leaches from the lemon peel.
3 x 750ml bottles of vodka; 2 full 1 EMPTY
2 cups (500ml) water
1.5 cups granulated sugar
Zest all the lemons with the little stainless steel/ black handled zester as pictured above. It’s a magic gadget! No white pith please, just the peel.
Put all the peel into the empty vodka bottle and pour the contents of one of the full bottles on top. Seal bottle and store in the pantry for 2 weeks or until the liquid is yellow and the peel is white.
Bring the water and sugar to a slow boil and simmer until the granules have dissolved. Cool liquid.
Take a large jug with a liquid capacity of at least 2.5 litres, strain the vodka into this jug and discard the peel. Add the syrup to the jug and the last bottle of vodka. Mix well. Fill the 3 empty vodka bottles with the liquid - yield should be 2.5 bottles. Seal and leave in the pantry for 1 more week. Turn bottles now and then to amalgamate the flavours.
Store limoncello in the freezer and use as required. It is lovely served neat with an ice cube in a shot glass. For a long drink put a measure into a tumbler and top with tonic water, ice and a slice of lemon. Limoncello is great poured over ice cream or fruit and excellent for deglazing the pan after cooking chicken breasts to which a little cream could be added.
Create a little drama: substitute orange peel for lemon, complete as above, serve as a long drink garnished with blood orange slices, ice cubes and a few orange blossoms.
Note: Do not fill bottles to the top, leave a little space to avoid them cracking in the freezer.