Meyer lemons have taken over. But once you've tired of lemonade, lemon curd, and preserved lemons, set your sights on a boozy batch of Meyer lemon limoncello. It's easy to make, and because you use only the zest for the infused liqueur, you can freeze the juice for later.
Meyer Lemon Limoncello*
8 Meyer lemons
1 cup white sugar
1 quart 100 proof vodka. Get a brand that’s 100% neutral grain spirits.
1. Use a vegetable peeler to remove the zest from the lemons.
2. Put the zest in a 1-quart jar.
3. Add the sugar and enough vodka to fill the container.
4. Screw on the lid and store in a dark place. Feel free to shake the jar periodically to help dissolve the sugar.
5. After 2 weeks, strain out the zest.
6. Return the liquid to the jar and add enough vodka to top off. You don’t need to age this mixture, just put it in the refrigerator until you're ready to serve.
If you’ve used super ripe lemons, you may notice a layer of oil on top of the limoncello. Don’t pour this off; it's the richest part, like the cream on unpasteurized milk. Just shake up the limoncello to mix in the citrusy goodness before serving.
Plus, the same recipe works well to make Arancello out of blood oranges. These are just starting to show up around town and are usually available until the end of March. The only differences in the recipe are these:
- Save 1/4 cup of blood orange juice to add to the finished arancello, for color.
- Add an additional 1/2 cup sugar (1½ total) to the liquid since orange zest is more tart than Meyer lemon zest.
*Recipe adapted from Strong Waters - A Simple Guide to Making Beer, Wine, Cider and Other Spirited Beverages.