Homemade limoncello is a matter of pride and distinction in many southern Italian families. This fragrant liqueur is the traditional after-dinner offering along the Amalfi Coast.
When Executive Pastry Chef Emily Luchetti brought up the idea of making limoncello to Head Bartender Joe Wrye, he jumped at the opportunity to make a Waterbar version of this signature Italian treat.
When Emily’s Meyer lemon tree produced an enormous amount of fruit this spring, she started looking for ideas to produce something new. Limoncello in Italy is traditionally made with aromatic, juicy, Sorrento lemons – so revered in Italy that they are IDG controlled. Why not try a version with fragrant California Meyer lemons?
Emily meticulously peeled her lemons, careful to leave the zests free of pith and juice that can tarnish the flavor. Joe filtered 10 bottles of Russian Standard vodka through charcoal to remove impurities and make a more neutral spirit. Then the zests and vodka were marinated together for 55 days, until taste-testing indicated that it was time to add sugar. To make a more smooth and viscous limoncello, Emily and Joe used some of Emily’s homemade simple syrup instead of the traditional granulated sugar. After blending, the unfinished limoncello was sealed up and allowed to rest for an additional 50 days before being tasted.
The Finished Result:
A clean, clear, smooth, and decidedly aromatic lemon liqueur just waiting to be enjoyed chilled, over ice, or as the base ingredient for a signature Waterbar cocktail.
2 oz. Limoncello
1 oz. seltzer or soda water
1 oz. 7-Up
freshly squeezed lemon
lemon twist for garnish
Combine the limoncello, seltzer, 7-Up, and lemon into a cocktail shaker.
Lightly shake to cool.
Pour into a highball glass filled with ice.
Garnish with a twisted lemon peel.