Limoncello is an Italian aperitif strongly flavored of lemon (as the name would suggest to any english speaking person). This aperitif is easy to make at home, and can be used in many mixed drinks. I myself am currently enjoying a rather strong version of strawberry lemonade made of limoncello and strawberry puree with a hint of fresh squeezed lime juice).

Here is a recipe that is quite easy to follow.

One: Get yourself a bottle of the strongest vodka you can find (100 proof or greater, Everclear and it's like work best, if available in your state/country/province/etc... of residence).

Two: Buy one dozen lemons (that's twelve of them!) and remove the zest from all of them (just the yellow part! the white pith will impart a bitterness to your final product that most imbibers would find undesireable). Cut the zest into very small pieces (if you really want you can even throw the zest and the booze into a blender and let it whirr!)

Three: Let the zest and booze sit for three to four weeks. Take about ten seconds out of each day to shake up the mixture.

Four: After the long wait is over brew yourself up some simple syrup (that's a mixture of equal parts sugar and water, melted together in a saucepan then allowed to cool).

Five: ok, now this takes a little bit of fiddlin' but mix your infusion and the simple syrup at a ratio of 2:1 to 3:1 depending on how strong the alcohol you used at the start was (for Everclear and it's siblings use a 2:1 ratio for weaker alochols use less syrup).

You now have Limoncello! Enjoy and curse your enemies in Italian with slightly more satisfaction!

The Horrors of your Childhood Never Truly Die

When I was a kid, my family went every summer (every one, mandatorily) to Southern Italy, specificlly to Puglia, where my father was born.

We would get sunburned, swim, overeat... everything you can expect from Southern Italy in summer. And then there was the Horror in the Cupboard.

My grandmother, you see, in one occasion had made limoncello. This particular limoncello, it seems, was not particularly tasty. Every night she would ask my parents "Volete un po' di limoncello?", and my parents would politely refuse. The bottle was then replaced in the cupboard.

Over the years, the limoncello did not improve. The sugar started to crystallize. Possibily the color changed a bit. The alcohol certainly evaporated. But my grandmother (who does not drink liquor) never noticed. She continued offering it to the family, who continued to refuse. The only reductions in the level of the bottle happened when unsuspecting guests that had not been warned accepted the drink.

I never actually tried that specific bottle, being a kid, but I tried others later on. And I never liked the cloying sweetness. But this did not concern me too much, because -you see- limoncello at that time, the Eighties, was completely unknown outside of Southern Italy. Limoncello was safely confined in its cupboard.

When the Horrors go Global

And then it so happened that the global fashion/trade engine that decides what things become popular grabbed limoncello as the drink-of-the-decade. It could have picked slivovitz. It could have picked sburlon. But no, it chose the damn yellow sludge... and, to my horror, in duty free shops everywhere, in liquor stores, in supermarkets where prices are written in strange currencies, it appeared. People were drinking, no, they were swilling limoncello! They were offering it to me, and they would insist, because hey you are Italian and so is limoncello, so...

And I have learned this much: You can't escape your limoncello.

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