Limoncello is one of the few Italian drinks whose main component you can identify by name, not knowing the language at all. This fresh and aromatic, slightly sweet liquor the color of the liquid sun is made from lemons mainly in southern Italy. In the northern part of the country, it is better known as limoncino.
Despite the huge number of manufacturers, the recipe for limoncello at home is very popular. He is one of the most popular liquors in Italy and is gaining more and more fame throughout the world. Do you want to plunge with us into the alluring waters of the citrus ocean? Then, we dive!
The story of the appearance of limoncello is shrouded in many legends. Several families from different cities of Italy applied for the right to be considered the developers of its formulation. Although on the island of Capri (Capri) believe that the origin of the drink is inextricably linked with the entrepreneur Massimo Canale, which in 1988 first registered the Limoncello trademark.
It is assumed that the drink was born in the early 1900s in the boarding house "Azzurra", where a certain lady Maria Antonia was engaged in the cultivation of lemons and oranges. In the post-war period, her nephew opened a bar next to Alex Munte Villa, a distinctive product of which was lemon liquor made according to his grandmother's old recipe. In 1988, under the leadership of Massimo Canale, a small manual production of the drink began.
Residents of the cities of Sorrento (Sorrento) and Amalfi (Amalfi) do not agree with this version. For example, in the first they are sure that in many urban families at the beginning of the 20th century, lemon liquor was already prepared according to traditional recipes for special guests.
Amalfi suggests that the production of the drink has ancient roots and is inextricably linked to the cultivation of lemons. However, as happens in such cases, one truth is still not there, but there are still many interesting versions.
- Someone thinks that limoncello was used by peasants and fishermen in the morning fishing to combat the cold during the period of foreign invasions.
- Others, by contrast, say the recipe was born in monasteries to relax monks between intense prayers.
- Still others are sure that culinary nuns with the help of liquor enhanced the taste of lemon pastries already in the Middle Ages.
In any case, invariably one thing - the yellow drink, having conquered Italy, crossed its borders and has already conquered half of the world market.
How to do in production
The production of limoncello at first glance is not a tricky process, but still has some nuances. For its manufacture, as a rule, ethanol with a strength of 90 degrees is used, in which lemon zest is soaked. Only the yellow part of the crust is cut off, because the presence of white pulp in the future will lead to the appearance of bitterness. Average fruit consumption: 10 large lemons per 1 liter of alcohol.
The time of infusion depends on the recipe according to which the manufacturer prepares. Usually it is about 20 days. After aging, sugar syrup is added to the solution (a total of 600-700 g of sugar per 1 liter of water). Then the liquor is filtered and bottled. After a month of ripening, limoncello is ready to eat. The strength of the final product is 20-40 degrees, depending on the manufacturer.
You ask: "What is the difference between liquors of different companies?" The answer is simple: lemons!
For the original limoncello use only lemons di Sorrento (limone di Sorrento), which should grow in the territory from Vico Equense (Vico Equense) to Massa Lubrense (Massa Lubrense) and on the island of Capri. Methods for growing citrus fruits in these areas are traditional. The unique characteristics of the fruit depend on the microclimate and proximity to the sea. Protecting against cold winds with straw structures called pagliarelle around lemon gardens plays a large role.
Harvesting is carried out between February and October and is carried out manually to prevent lemons from contacting the ground. During the cultivation, the fruits are not subjected to any chemical treatment.
The difference also lies in the taste of citrus, which depends on the variety. The most used varieties are:
- Femminiello of Massa Lubrense - fruits are oval with a smooth skin, very juicy;
- Sfusato from Amalfi - conical lemons with a thick skin and almost no seeds.
These varieties are characterized by an intense aroma of essential oils, which turn into liquor, giving it a unique citrus flavor. By purchasing liquor called "Limoncello di Sorrento", you can be sure that you have a real traditional drink with an authentic taste.
There are also unusual variations of the drink: Pistachiocello (with pistachios), Meloncello (with melon flavor), Fragoncello (flavored with strawberries). Some less common flavors contain honey, herbs, and peppers.
There is a variant of milk liquor instead of a simple syrup called "Crema di limoncello". Often it contains less alcohol (about 16%).
Of course, the best limoncello is prepared in Italy. But you can also make a great liquor at home. For what?
- Because many commercial variations of the drink are too sweet, and you will adjust the amount of sugar to your liking.
- It is much more pleasant to offer guests their own liquor.
- This is a significant cost savings, which is especially true in our time.
Since not everyone has a 90-degree alcohol at hand, we offer you the recipe for vodka limoncello. You will need:
- Lemons - 10 pcs;
- Vodka - 750 ml;
- Bottled water - 700 ml;
- Sugar - 500 ml.
Before cooking, wash the lemons in warm water with a brush to wash away any traces of chemical compounds.
Next, using a peeler, remove the zest from lemons in long strips. If there is a white peel on them, then carefully remove it with a sharp knife. We place the zest in a 2-liter jug, fill it with vodka and cover the neck with a plastic bag. Insisting goes at room temperature and ideally lasts about a month.
When the maceration has come to an end, we prepare the syrup. In a saucepan, heat sugar with water for 5 minutes until completely dissolved. Do not boil! We mix alcohol and cooled sugar solutions and insist again for 1 month.
The resulting limoncello is filtered, bottled and sent to the freezer. Due to its unique taste and aroma, liquor is served without additives and dyes.
The uncomplicated recipe for limoncello on vodka still has some secrets, knowing which you can make the perfect drink:
- Use high-quality alcohol to avoid turning the finished liquor into ice in the freezer;
- To insist on the zest, it is better to place the container in a dark room or cabinet to prevent the unwanted effect of sunlight on essential oils;
- It is possible to shorten the time for preparing liquor. Infusion of the zest - up to 4 days, ripening of the finished liquor - up to one night.
Despite the attractive numbers in the last recommendation, which are often found in modern recipes, it is worth noting that the perfect limocello is a seasoned limocello.
How and with what to drink
Italian national cuisine is impossible to imagine without limoncello. For this reason, there is an unwritten set of rules for drinking this alcoholic beverage.
Liquor is drunk in pure form and mixed in all kinds of cocktails. Before serving the drink, it must be put in the freezer for at least an hour. High glasses on a thin stalk, similar to champagne glasses, are sent there for cooling. They must be dry so that in the freezer a layer of hoarfrost appears on them, not ice. It is believed that only in this way can the true taste and aroma of the drink be revealed.
If you have little time, then it is allowed to add a couple of ice cubes to the limoncello. Although this is a rare phenomenon, practiced exclusively in problem situations.
Residents of the republic drink liquor after meals as a digestif that helps the absorption of food. The drink significantly enhances the digestive processes, and also arouses appetite. After a glass of limoncello, some people feel incredibly hungry, despite the fact that before they ate. Even considering this fact, liquor is not customary to snack. For Italians, this is a sign of bad taste. As an exception, you can chew a slice of lemon decorating a glass, or a small piece of fruit (orange, banana).
After emptying the glasses, cold appetizers, salads and wine are served, according to Italians, in perfect harmony with lemon liquor. This is also done only in cases where the invitees have not yet left. Most often, after limoncello followed by sweet dishes and desserts.
Italians do not abuse sweets after liquor, because a very small piece of chocolate can cause a state of extreme intoxication. For the same reason, limoncello is drunk slowly, in small sips, leaving it in the mouth until a slight burning sensation occurs. And again, a contradiction: the process should not be stretched, since it is necessary to use liquor until the glass becomes warm. If the Italian does not have time to cope with the liquor, then, as a rule, asks for another cold glass.
There are many cocktails based on limoncello. Here are the components of the most original recipes:
- Black lemon: 20 ml of limoncello + 30 ml of chocolate liquor;
- Coral Queensland: 30 ml of vodka + 5 ml of limoncello + 5 ml of Blue Kyurosao liquor + 60 ml of lemonade;
- Yo Ho: 30 ml of light rum + 30 ml of limoncello + bitter lemon;
- Sweetheart: 40 ml of vodka + 40 ml Aperol + 40 ml of cranberry juice + 15 ml of limoncello + 15 ml of lemon juice.
All Limoncello cocktails are served before or after the meal. They are drunk with fruit and pastries. Sometimes they are used as refreshing drinks during a snack.
Sweet hunters in almost all of the republic's restaurants can enjoy gelato, which is flavored with lemon liquor syrup. An interesting fact is that I serve ice cream to both adults and children.
The price of limoncello in Italy depends on the seller and the manufacturer and varies from 3.5 to 30 Euro per 500 ml. Russian counters also boast drinks from the peninsula costing from 700 to 2300 rubles for the same 500 ml.
The waters of the citrus ocean on this calm down and return us to the abyss of being. Love easily, live boldly, travel successfully and remember: “If life sends lemons to the Italians, they will definitely make them limoncello!”