^
Keep New Times Free
4

When Life Throws Lemons (and Other Citrus-y Stuff), Chrysa Robertson Makes Limoncello

Italians are nuts for limoncello, a sweet, bright lemon liqueur traditionally served chilled as an after-dinner digestif. They drink it in restaurants and make it at home, using family recipes passed down for generations. In the last few years (and possibly owing to cocktail culture's interest in tradition), house-made limoncello has been popping up in upscale Italian restaurants and other chef-driven, cocktail-centric eateries -- around the U.S.

See also: -- Chrysa Robertson Dishes on Her Role as Exorcist and What It Takes To Be a Woman Chef -- Phoenix Cold Snap Is Over But What Are the Repercussions For Local Farmers and the Restaurants Who Buy From Them?

So it's no wonder that Chrysa Robertson -- one of our first home-town chefs to make local-seasonal-organic her mantra -- whips up batches of limoncello every winter at Italian-inflected Rancho Pinot. She says it's easy as pie -- easier, actually -- requiring little more than citrus peeling expertise and patience.

Robertson prepares her batches in those big aguas frescas jars you find at Food City. Then she buys six 750 ml bottles of inexpensive vodka (90 to 100 proof). Using 12-15 lemons per bottle, she peels the zest from the lemons (making sure not to get the pith) and throws them in the jar, pours the vodka over them and adds sugar to taste. Then she waits about 30 days and voila! limoncello. It keeps forever in the freezer, and that's exactly how you want to drink it -- unless, of course, in the dead of summer, you pour it over ice cream or sorbet, which Robertson promises is refreshing and delicious.

Her recipe is loosey-goosey so you might want to find one on the internet if you need more precise measurements, And if you do that, you're going to discover that some recipes call for Everclear (120-proof) with simple syrup (because the water in the syrup helps dilute the high-octane spirit). Up to you. Be free. It's your limoncello reality.

I Support
  • Local
  • Community
  • Journalism
  • logo

Support the independent voice of Phoenix and help keep the future of New Times free.

Robertson doesn't limit herself to everyday Lisbon lemons, however. When she can get them (and our recent hard freeze wiped out a lot of local citrus), she also makes limoncello with Meyer lemons, blood oranges, tangerines and kumquats, pouring the final mixture back in the original vodka bottles, and unceremoniously dating and labeling them with a piece of masking tape.

She swears they're all wonderful, but her favorite may be tangerine. If you're not a DIY kind of person, just swing by Rancho and Robertson will pour you whatever she's got on hand, each flavor priced at $8 each. I've tried the lemon (which offers up a penetrating pop of bright-sweet-tangy citrus) and kumquat (which is milder and more floral but still delivers a bit of sour-citrus kick). Can't go wrong on this one. Find your inner Italian.

Follow Chow Bella on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest.

Keep Phoenix New Times Free... Since we started Phoenix New Times, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Phoenix, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Phoenix with no paywalls.

We use cookies to collect and analyze information on site performance and usage, and to enhance and customize content and advertisements. By clicking 'X' or continuing to use the site, you agree to allow cookies to be placed. To find out more, visit our cookies policy and our privacy policy.

 

Join the New Times community and help support independent local journalism in Phoenix.

 

Join the New Times community and help support independent local journalism in Phoenix.