This endeavor was sparked by a visit from our landlord. What? Don't you get the urge to cook something after having your lawn mowed and your dead winter plants trimmed?
So the lemon tree next door was overhanging our driveway to an alarming extent. After the required pruning, we were left with a HUGE pile of lemons in our driveway. Even after our landlord took a bag, we still had 20 lemons left, about 10 of which were completely ripe. Yes. Well.
So I did what any rational person with a surplus of lemons and a 1.75L bottle of vodka would do: I started a batch of limoncello.
a jar for infusion purposes
Limoncello starts out like any schnapps, with a main ingredient--lemon zest, in this case--cut up and steeped in vodka. So I started by microplaning seven lemons. It would also have worked to use a vegetable peeler, but I just couldn't pass up a chance to microplane my fingers, so. When you're zesting your lemons, make sure not to get any of the white pith; including this would make your limoncello bitter.
Put your zest in a jar of your choice, filling it approximately 1/3 of the way. I just used a standard quart canning jar. Fill the jar with vodka, cap it, and put it somewhere cool and dark to steep. I found all kinds of different information about how long to let your zest steep, from 4 days to 45, but I'm planning to strain mine after a week. Agitate the jar every day or so, or whenever you think of it. This won't be hard, since you'll get to admire (and smell!) your limoncello-in-process every time.
After the vodka has finished infusing, strain out the solids and flavor to taste with simple syrup. This sweetening step changes the lemon vodka from a schnapps to a liqueur, incidentally. Simple syrup is easy to make; just heat equal amounts of sugar and water together until the sugar dissolves. Let your simple syrup cool before you mix it with your vodka. I'm planning to start by adding about half a cup of syrup to my near quart of vodka, tasting, and going from there.
You may want to age the limoncello more after sweetening it. I find that just putting it in the cupboard with all the liquor (& sampling at your leisure) lets it age just fine.
Drink in appealing little liqueur glasses of your choice. I'm thinking this will be especially great in, say, July, when you can drink it in the sunny backyard while lounging about wearing big face-obliterating sunglasses and pretending that you're actually in Italy. Yay, limoncello!