Limoncello: All in a Day’s Work

One of the best things about writing a novel where Italian food plays a starring role is all the delicious research of course.

Like a method actor getting “into character,” I was more than happy to sip and savor all that Italian cuisine has to offer. And one of the first things I couldn’t wait to try when Will and I eventually made our way to the boot-shaped paradise, the Amalfi Coast in particular, was the Italian answer to lemonade, namely limoncello.

I blame Diane Lane in Under the Tuscan Sun for making it look so utterly irresistible. When Whatever His Name Was offers her some of his homemade sunshine in a glass, I wanted to reach my hand into the television and steal the first drink. As a lover of anything involving lemons, there was never any doubt that I’d love it. And apparently whenever Amalfi Coast lemons are in the mix, the limoncello is that much better.

Incidentally, if you’ve never seen citrus from the Amalfi Coast, they’re quite the overachievers. Thanks to the neighboring sea and the consistent, California-esque temperature, the fruit really thrives there. To wit, I saw lemons the size of Nerf footballs. As someone who uses a lot of lemons in her cooking, I can’t even begin to think how much zest and juice you’d get from just one.

Hoping to recreate my Amalfi Coast experience for Will and our dinner guests a few weeks ago, I decided to make my own limoncello. For something so tasty, it wasn’t a difficult process at all. It just requires a handful of ingredients and time, meaning you can’t randomly decide to whip up a batch and serve it the same day. You need a week for the lemon peels to really infuse the vodka with all their tart goodness.

Since she spent a good chunk of her childhood in both Capri and Positano, I opted for Giada DeLaurentiis’s recipe. And while I was definitely happy with the results, even with our puny Stateside lemons standing in for the Amalfi variety, I’d love to see how the final product would compare with a couple more weeks of infusing. Guess the only way to find out is to whip up another batch and keep you posted, right? :)

 

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