Limoncello

15 organic lemons
2 (750-milliliter) bottles Everclear (151 or 190 proof)
4 cups granulated sugar

Wash a 1-gallon glass jar and lid in hot, soapy water and dry. Scrub the lemons in warm water and dry. Remove zest from lemons and place in prepared jar. Pour in 1 bottle of the alcohol. Secure lid and place jar in cool, dry place to steep. After 20 to 30 days, add second bottle of alcohol to mixture.
In a large saucepan, combine the sugar and 71/2 cups water and bring to a boil over high heat, stirring to dissolve sugar. Decrease to a simmer and cook for 10 minutes to ensure all sugar has dissolved. Remove from heat and cool. When sugar syrup is cool, add to lemon-alcohol mixture. Secure lid and return jar to a cool, dark place for 20 to 40 days.
To bottle, wash bottles in hot, soapy water. Strain liquid through a fine-mesh strainer into a large bowl. Add 12/3 cups of water to limoncello if you used 151-proof alcohol. Add 2 cups if you used 190-proof. Ladle limoncello into prepared jars. Limoncello will keep for several years.
Makes 4 (1-liter) bottles.
— Recipe from "Gifts Cooks Love: Recipes for Giving," by Diane Morgan (Andrews McMeel, $25).


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