Ahh, fall. As I've said many a time before, I love summer. But there is definitely something about crisp nights, warm cappuccinos in the morning and changing leaves that you can't help but love. But since I'm not quite ready to let go of summer yet, I wanted to share a recipe for limoncello in case you are in need of a refreshing digestivo on these still-warm days. If you haven't had limoncello before, it's basically sweetened, lemon-infused alcohol, usually drunk ice-cold after meals to aid digestion. You can also use it in cocktails, if you wish, or add some seltzer to dilute it a bit. The recipe itself couldn't be easier, but does take some time: I let the lemon peels soak for a full month for maximum lemon flavor (since, as you may know, I love anything lemon) and used the least amount of sugar recommended. We've been enjoying this all summer, and it's a great thing to bring out at parties – or to give as (eek!) holiday gifts (not that I'm thinking about that yet.)
On a more serious note: though I did not live in New York City 13 years ago, over the past four years this city has continued to amaze, inspire, and astonish me every single day. I'm so thankful for the opportunity to live here, and to get to know the varied–and incredibly resilient–people who call New York their home. Thoughts go out to anyone who was affected by what happened on that terrible day.
Limoncello (recipe from The Kitchn)
10 lemons, washed and dried (it's best to use organic since you will only be using the peels) 1 750-ml bottle vodka (100-proof preferred, or 80-proof) 1 cup sugar
Use a vegetable peeler to remove the peels from all the lemons. Try to remove only the outer yellow skin and as little of the pith as possible. Trim away any large pieces of pith with a paring knife, but don't worry about trimming every last scrap.
Transfer the lemon peels to a 1-quart jar and cover with vodka. Screw on the lid. Let the vodka and lemon peels infuse somewhere out of the way and out of direct sunlight for at least 4 days and up to one month. The longer you let the vodka infuse, the more lemony your limoncello.
After your vodka has infused for the length of time you choose, line a strainer with a large coffee filter and set it over a 4-cup measuring cup. Strain the infused vodka through the filter. You may need to stir the vodka in the strainer if the flow stops.
Prepare a simple syrup of 1 cup of water and 1 cup of sugar — bring the water to a simmer and stir in the sugar to dissolve; allow to cool. Mix with vodka, and you have limoncello! Store in the freezer for up to one year.