Recipe for the perfect moonshine…

In the true spirit of procrastination (I am supposed to be working after all) I thought I’d share my recipe for limoncello just in case you fancy brewing your own.

I followed the method in this book with a healthy dose of this one on the side. By the way, the latter, Elspeth Thompson’s The Wonderful Weekend Book, is well worth a look if you haven’t come across it before. It doesn’t have a limoncello recipe but it does have a foolproof berry vodka method. I return to my copy time and again as it’s a veritable treasure trove of ideas for weekend pursuits nestled alongside common sense advice, beautiful passages about her home life in East Sussex and magnificent lists (of books to read, places to visit, DVDs to watch on a winter’s afternoon and much more). 

Anyway, I digress. To make the limoncello you first need to sterilise a 2-litre Kilner jar. There are various methods for sterilising and as with jam making, I whack mine in the oven at 160º for 20 minutes, taking care to line the oven shelves with a double layer of newspaper and ensuring the jar doesn’t touch the sides of the oven. The rubber Kilner seal can be dipped in boiling water for 20 seconds before re-attaching to the cooled jar then you’re ready to brew….

Limoncello - you will need:

* 6 unwaxed lemons

* 250g caster sugar

* 1 x 70cl bottle of good-quality vodka

Wash and dry the lemons then zest them in fine strips. Squeeze the juice from the lemons and put to one side. Put 100ml water in a pan, add the sugar and lemon zest then bring to a boil, stirring every now and then until the sugar dissolves.

Then reduce the heat and simmer for 15 minutes. Next add the lemon juice and simmer very gently for a further 5 minutes. Now remove from the heat and allow the syrupy mixture to cool.

Once cool, pour the vodka into your sterilised jar, pour in the lemon syrup, put the lid on and give it a good shake.

Store it in a cool, dry dark place and shake every day - it says for one week, but I leave mine for longer. Then strain off the lemon zest and pour the limoncello into a pretty, smaller bottles.

Ta da!