Limoncello is traditionally served chilled as an after-dinner digestivo. Along the Amalfi Coast, it is usually served in small ceramic glasses themselves often chilled, the Amalfi coast being a center of both ceramics and limoncello production. This tradition has been carried into other parts of Italy.
- 18 lemons (Meyer or Eureka; see Notes), washed and dried
- One 4-in. rosemary sprig, washed and dried
- 2 bottles (750 ml. each) 100-proof vodka, such as Stolichnaya or Smirnoff
- 4 1/2 cups sugar
- Peel lemons with a sharp vegetable peeler, taking only the zest (top layer) and avoiding any white pith. Put rosemary in a 1-gal. glass or ceramic container with a tight seal. Add zest to jar.
- Pour 750 ml. vodka over rosemary and zest; seal container. Let sit undisturbed in a cool, dark place for 40 days.
- In a saucepan, bring 5 cups water to a boil and add sugar. Cook, stirring, until sugar has dissolved. Let sugar syrup cool to room temperature, about 1 hour.
- Pour syrup and remaining 750 ml. vodka over lemon-vodka mixture, stir, and seal container. Let sit in a cool, dark place for another 40 days.
- Pour limoncello through cheesecloth into a large spouted pitcher and divide among gift bottles.
- Note: Nutritional analysis is per ounce.
Note:Either Meyer or Eureka lemons work in this recipe (the fragrant Meyer is especially good, though). To speed up the process, shorten the infusing time in steps 2 and 4 to 1 week each, and you’ll have a fine although less intense liqueur. Limoncello keeps indefinitely in the freezer.