The recipe called for pure alcohol between 96-98% proof (about 48% in UK ABV terms, yowzers!) and as most of our vodkas are about 37% ABV I used Smirnoff Blue Export Strength which is 50% ABV (bought from Tescos). It was only £21 for a litre too, result. You need the really high alcohol content to strip out all the essential oils from the lemon peel, and seeing as you will be diluting it with sugar and water it means that once it's finished, it's still good and strong so you can happily keep it in your freezer without it turning to ice.
This a pretty quick infusion so your gorgeous homemade limoncello will be ready in about 2-3 weeks! You will be left with lots of peeled lemons but we have LOADS of ace lemon recipes to use them up. I made lots of lemon curd and lemon posset with mine, I've had about a year's worth of vitamin C today, take THAT colds and lurgy bugs!
You'll need: (makes 2 litres)
- 8 unwaxed lemons (although I had 10 so used them all)
- 1 litre vodka (48-50% abv)
- 1kg sugar
- 1 litre water
- Use a vegetable peeler to remove the skin of the lemons in strips. You don't want the bitter white pith though. If your peeler is removing lots of pith then chuck it out and invest in a new one as the majority of your vegetables' flavour and vitamins are stored just beneath the skin, so if you're peeling spuds you are losing loads of the good stuff.
- Put your lemon peel into a wide necked carafe or big Kilner jar then pour over your vodka and pop the lid on. Put it in a cupboard and leave to infuse for a week. Give it a good shake every day if you remember.
- A week later put your sugar and water in a saucepan and heat whilst stirring until all the sugar is dissolved then bring to the boil. Once boiling reduce heat and simmer for 10 minutes until syrupy.
- Strain your lemon infused vodka though some muslin or a sieve into a jug then very slowly and carefully pour it into your hot syrup. Be careful - it will spit.
- Let it cool completely then pour it into bottles and leave it in a cupboard for about 10-15 days.
- You can now decant it into smaller bottles to give away as gifts or just put it straight into your freezer.