This month's Cooking Light Virtual Supper Club has "Celebrate a Farmer (Go Vegetarian)" as it's theme.
I was asked to bring a beverage or dessert to the party. I decided upon a beverage and since I was going to be in Italy for the posting I celebrated with Limoncello.
Limoncello is an Italian lemon liqueur mainly produced in Southern Italy, especially in the region around the Gulf of Naples, the Sorrentine Peninsula and the coast of Amalfi and islands of Procida, Ischia and Capri.
Traditionally, it is made from the zest of Femminello St. Teresa lemons, also known as Sorrento lemons or Sfusato Lemons. Lemon zest, or peels without the pith, is steeped in rectified spirit until the oil is released. The resulting yellow liquid is then mixed with simple syrup. Varying sugar to water ratio and temperature will affect the clarity, viscosity, and flavor. Opaque limoncellos are the result of spontaneous emulsification (otherwise known as the Ouzo Effect) of the sugar syrup and extracted lemon oils.
Limoncello is the second most popular liqueur in Italy and it has recently become popular in other parts of the world. Restaurants in the United States, and Canada are now increasingly offering limoncello on their beverage and dessert menus.
The United States has seen a rise in commercial producers using California lemons which are grown year around, with 90% of the United States lemon crops coming from California. Limoncello happens to be a popular ingredient in cocktails. Limoncello imparts a strong lemon flavor without the sourness or bitterness of pure lemon juice.
When we're in Italy one of the things I love to do at the end of the evening is to gather on the villa terrace under the stars sipping a limoncello. Ahhhhh
Just to tease you a bit . . . this is the view where I've been sipping my limoncello this week.
è una buona vita . . . salute!
4 cups vodka
1/2 cup lemon rind strips (about 7 lemons)
3 cups water
1 1/2 cups sugar
Combine vodka and rind in a bowl. Cover and let stand at room temperature for 2 weeks. Strain through a sieve into a bowl; discard solids.
Combine 3 cups water and 1 1/2 cups sugar in a large saucepan. Cook over medium heat until the sugar dissolves, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat, and cool to room temperature. Add to vodka mixture.
Divide limoncello evenly among 3 sterilized (750-milliliter) bottles, and seal.
Note: Store in the refrigerator up to 1 year.