The first time we went to Italy, we asked for limoncello.  It was December.  In  Milan.  Ridiculous turistas, the waiter guffawed….  We broke the rules:  no cappuccino after 11:00 am; no limoncello in the winter, particularly in the north.  But sipping the sweet frosty blend of citrus, hooch, emanating  sunshine, we did not care.
The southern region boasts glorious lemons. Italians seem to have a way of making  good use of all things.  Placing only the zest in a bath of alcohol for forty days  allows its essence to permeate the liquid. More alcohol and sugar syrup are added. 

After another forty days it is complete. It is very typical in Italy for families to prepare their own, to keep it very chilled and to present and  pour for family and friends.  The cello is not limited to lemons:  oranges, limes and other citrus are used.  We’ve been served  pineapple cello and had no complaints. In Italy, a creamed product is sometimes served…as  was an arancella (orange cello) at the end of a fine meal in Milan that same year after our faux pas…

 In Italy, the meal never really ends, we happily note.

We’ve always made our version with limes (limonettacella),  because that’s what we grow at our home in southern California.  Our lemon tree isn’t a great producer after over thirty years.  This year our daughter-in-law , Julie, brought  the sweet lemons they grow in Burbank ( we believe these are Meyer lemons),  and we shared the effort. 

STEP 1/ Day 1:  Add contents of  1 bottle of vodka (750ml) into a large glass jar (about a gallon); Zest 15 lemons (well- scrubbed and dried).  Allow no pith!  Add to liquid as you zest.
Cover and let rest from ten to forty days…the longer the rest, the more fragrant your product. No need to stir. Simply WAIT.
STEP 2/Day 40: Combine 4 cups sugar with 5 cups water in saucepan.  After 5-7” until thickened.  Cool. Add to limoncello mixture. Add another bottle of vodka.  Rest additional ten-forty days.
STEP 3/Day 80: Strain. Bottle, discarding zest.  Freeze until ready to serve.
We found the sweet lemons make a sweet liquer.  Those of us who enjoy a less sweet variety found a squeeze of fresh lemon hit the spot. 
My husband has perfected his Cellotini:  3 oz lemon juice, 4 ½ oz limoncello, 6 oz vodka. Shake, strain into chilled martini glasses for two very large drinks. Add twist if desired.

Start very soon, and your own limoncello can be ready for the New Year! 

Yes, it is simply a wonderful  summertime refreshment, too…