Pure bottled sunshineThe months between June and September tend to be our most social ones, punctuated by barbecues,eating alfresco, and glasses of pink port on the patio. These are evenings when we want to encourage our guests to have one for the road, to hang around just a little longer and enjoy those precious few moments when the heat finally dissipates.
How about some limoncello?
There are many legends and stories on the origin of this liqueur; some say the limoncello is as ancient as lemon cultivation itself. Others say that it was used by fishermen and farmers to fight off the cold of the morning. Some others say that the recipe originated in a monastery. We’ll probably never know the truth, but what is certain is that today limoncello is an international success, which is exported by many Italian companies that follow the original recipe using only lemons from Capri, Sorrento or the Amalfitana coast. Peel from lemons, picked no more than 48 hours before, are cut by hand and left to marinate in a solution of alcohol, water and sugar. The jugs are well covered and kept at room temperature so that the blend can marinate and gain the lemon taste and yellow colour. After resting for a month, the preparation continues by adding a pan of boiled water and sugar and then by leaving it to cool with some more alcohol. After 40 more days of resting, the infusion is filtered and bottled. Limoncello is stored in the freezer and is an excellent digestif, at the end of meals it’s become a social ritual as much as coffee.If you grow lemons it is a great way to make use of an excess harvest and for the price of a bottle of vodka it is astoundingly easy to make yourself,following the original recipe.I had this notion that limoncello must be a closely guarded secret , kept by a sect of weathered Italian Nonnos. Well, as it turns out,how wrong could I be.All you need to make truly incredible limoncello are some good lemons, a bottle of stiff vodka, and just a little patience.
The lemons may not be from the Amalfi coast but there is nothing wrong with a good Algarvian lemon.There is also an Alentejan version,Limontejo, should you be visting the area.So if you can’t make it to Palermo this summer, never fear Limoncello is here: It is cheap and easy to make at home, requiring only organic lemons, high-proof vodka, and sugar. Best of all, by making your own you can balance the limoncello to your liking, reducing the sugar content for a more tart sipper or upping it for something a little sweeter, and adding water if you want to reduce the alcohol.