(Makes 2 qts.)
Prep time: 1-2 hours, plus several months to steep
8 organic lemons
1 qt. vodka
1 qt. filtered water
3¾ cups sugar
1. Rinse lemons, then grate the outer zest using a fine zester, being careful not to use any of the white inner pith. Grating over a sheet of parchment paper makes collecting and handling the zest easier. The zest should be about the consistency of grated Parmesan cheese. Use the rest of the lemons for other dishes.
2. Empty the grated lemon zest into a clean half-gallon jar with a tight-fitting lid, then add vodka. Close the jar and store it in a cool closet or pantry for one to three months, or longer. Use two quart-size jars if necessary.
3. After the mixture has steeped, boil water in a saucepan, add sugar, and cook for five minutes, until sugar has dissolved. Remove from heat, and let the mixture cool to room temperature.
4. Add sugar syrup to the jar, cover, and return it to a cool place to steep another month or more.
5. When this step is finished, strain the liquid through several layers of cheesecloth moistened with filtered water, or it may be necessary to run the liquid through several paper coffee filters. Pour the limoncello into smaller bottles using a funnel, and seal with stoppers.
Tip: Keep the finished limoncello in the freezer, and serve it very cold. If you prefer to drink a lighter beverage, blend the liqueur with mixers such as club soda, lemonade, or sparkling wine.