Michael and I recently took a long, out-of-town weekend trip to Syracuse, New York, to see our friends Kelly and Patrick. While there, we got to watch the mighty Syracuse Orangemen play some b-ball! The game was a total blowout and tons of fun. We stayed at Kelly and Patrick’s adorable house and simply had the best time.
K and P are great hosts, so we wanted to be sure and take a little gift to thank them for what we knew was going to be a fantastic time.
As usual, the first gift option that popped into my booze-focused brain was booze. I thought about wine (which is always good), but I wanted it to be more special. Then I remembered that I had given homemade limoncello to my friends for Christmas a while back and it was quite a hit.
Limoncello is the perfect gift for a few reasons. First, making limoncello requires some forethought. You can’t just whip it up and serve it in an hour — people will know that love, time, and thought were put into their gift. Secondly, most people don’t have this delightful liquor on hand and would probably not think to make it for themselves. Lastly, they will drink the heck out of it and maybe even offer you some!
Here’s how it went down:
Zest 6 to 8 lemons.
You can do this by cutting away the zest with a knife (like I did above) or by using a vegetable peeler which works like a charm.
I julienned my lemon zest, but that really isn’t necessary, as the lemon rind will later be discarded. I just freaking love a good julienne, plus mama gotta keep up her knife skills.
Place the zest in the bottom of a glass container with a tight lid. I used a mason jar.
Add the booze! A 750ml bottle of vodka to be exact.
I love you so much!
Cover the jar and place it in a cool dark place for at least 2 weeks, but go for as long as you can. I know it will be hard.
This is what the mixture will look like after sitting for 2 weeks. The longer it sits, the more lemony goodness will be infused.
When two weeks (or longer) have passed, then combine 2 cups of sugar and 2 cups of water in a suacepan (will look like picture above at first).
Over medium heat, cook until the sugar has dissolved completely (approx 5 minutes). Syrup will look like picture above when ready. Allow syrup to cool.
Strain the lemon vodka through a strainer to remove all the lemon zest. Discard the zest, but thank it for its service before doing so.
This is what it looks like before adding the simple syrup. Feel free to start drinking it now. It’s lemon flavored vodka. Hell yeah.
Add enough simple syrup to the strained vodka to create a sweet and delightful concoction (I used around 2 cups of simple syrup). Now this is an important step and it will require quite a bit of taste testing to ensure that the gift is to your liking. I am sorry.
Find some great cocktail recipes that highlight Limoncello. Print them on small cards then attach them to the neck of the jar with kitchen twine!
It’s a great gift for great friends! Thank you Kelly and Patrick!