During the summer of 2014 Mrs Sensible and I had two Workaways Guestaways staying with us, while they were here we had another visitor, an engineer from one of my customers was allowed to fly from the UK for a product training course.
One evening the four of us were playing cards and drinking wine and probably grappa and maybe even a glass or two of limoncello. At about one thirty in the morning, I decided I had better go to bed, I left the three of them with an ample supply of wine and a half full bottle of limoncello.
During the early hours of the morning while I was snoring in bed, they managed to not only finish the wine and the limoncello, but they drew lots to see who would go down into the cellar in search of more limoncello. I was told with complete sincerity that they believed that I would not want them to go thirsty and therefore they felt obliged to source another bottle ……. and drink it.
In six weeks time the two girls are visiting us again, and knowing how much they enjoyed my limoncello I have made them a small batch.
So here is my recipe.
Ten organic and non-waxed lemons
One litre of 95% proof alcohol
One litre of water
800 grams of sugar
The first stage is to wash and dry the lemons. Then very carefully peel the lemons making sure you do not include any of the white pith because it will make the limoncello bitter.
Place all the lemon peel into a clean plastic bucket and pour in the 95% alcohol. Cover the bucket and leave it in a dark place for three weeks. Once a week give the mixture a stir.
After three weeks the mixture will look yellow and the lemon peel should look almost white.
At this stage it is very important that you are not tempted to taste or to breath in a lungful of the aroma coming from the bucket. I can vouch that it takes at least five weeks for the hairs in your nose to grow back and I vaguely remember it was at least an hour before I could talk or breath properly after I decided to lick the wooden spoon I had just stirred it with.
Pour one litre of clean water into a deep pan and bring it to the boil, while the water is boiling, slowly add the sugar and stir it until the sugar has completely dissolved. While your water and sugar mixture is cooling remove the lemon peel from the alcohol and allow them to strain, each drop of alcohol that drains is one more sip on a hot summers day.
When the sugar / water solution is tepid, pour it into the bucket. Cover it and put it back into a dark place for a week.
After one week give the mixture a stir and bottle it.
With the above ingredients you will create about three litres of limoncello. Because the alcohol content is so high (much to the disapproval of Mrs Sensible) the limoncello won’t freeze when it is stored in a freezer. And on a hot summers day there is nothing better than an ice cold glass of limoncello.
Mrs Sensible is very keen on being environmentally friendly and we tend to compost anything that is compostable. We were living next door to Luigina the last time I made limoncello and I dutifully threw the alcohol infused lemon peel in our vegetable waste bucket and then threw it to the hens……. When I realised the hens were fighting over the lemon peel I spent a very worried night wondering if the hens would survive their pub crawl.
This recipe was taught to me by Mario Masia, Mario owned the restaurant in Sheffield where I met Mrs Sensible. If you are ever in Sheffield UK go to his new restaurant called Akentannos at 270 Sharrow Vale Road Sheffield and tell them his crazy English friend sent you.