How about taking a quick detour from our usual food talk to talk about a drink. With the holidays approaching fast, there is always a good excuse to enjoy your favorite tipple. I find that with many seasonal drinks, the flavor tends to be too strong, spicy and a little off-putting after a large holiday meal.
So every holiday season (especially at Christmas) I make two different alcoholic drinks – one for company, and one to keep for those day after the holidays relaxing days (spiced chili vodka). The one I share with company is this wonderful lemoncello that is an absolute crowd pleaser: sweet, tart and tasty with enough kick to mellow out the hardest of souls.
Now in my opinion, age is everything when it comes to creating an infused alcohol drink. So I suggest you make it two months before you need it. The longer the flavors get to intermingle, the more absolutely gorgeous it is.
Now let’s go shopping!
*10.5 Cups of Water
*7.5 Cups of Sugar
*Extra Bottles for Overflow
Ok, let’s get started. First wash and zest all of the lemons. I highly suggest NOT using your zesting tool and opt instead for a vegetable peeler. Go for long, thick pieces of rind. This will help make the straining process later fairly simple and fast (which is what you want). Put all of the zest in a large bowl or container and dump the entire bottle of vodka over top. Cover and throw in a cool, dark cupboard or closet for 4 days.
Now, on the fourth day take out a medium sized pot and fill it with the sugar and water. Heat it on medium heat until all of the sugar is dissolved. Do not boil! Once completely dissolved, take the pot off of the heat and let cool to room temperature. This part takes patience and a couple hours, but you don’t have to do anything with it…just let it rest.
Once it is cooled, dump the sugar water mixture over the lemons, cover and leave overnight. You will notice that before you add the water and sugar it seems like the lemons have sucked up all the vodka. But when you take a look at it the next morning after the sugar water was added…it’s all back. Magic I tell ya.
Now you are ready to store. Take out the large piece of rind (and save for a garnish by freezing) and strain the mixture so that it comes out a beautiful clear yellow color. My top tip for straining? Use a coffee filter and your coffee maker. Put the filter in as you normally would and dump the mixture directly into that compartment. It takes a bit, but really does the job. Also you can you cheesecloth (which personally drives me crazy).
Now take the strained mixture and put it into freezer safe bottles and pop into the freezer. It is ready to drink almost instantly when cooled, but wait for two months for the flavor explosion. Enjoy!