I was introduced to Limoncello at a very young age. Like neon yellow Galliano liqueur, I downright demanded of my parents to allow me to taste it in my tender single digit years. Before you think they let me chug the stuff, it was more of a thimble full, which turned me off to alcohol altogether for probably another eight or so years. Like that very first taste of beer, I remember it vividly. It’s almost astringent citron taste, something that so many artificially flavored liquors try to nail is perfume like.
Limoncello is the ubiquitous drinking spirit of anywhere south of Rome, where lemon groves grow accidentally and drape their dramatically fragranced leaves everywhere you turn. The mind wanders to how ideal these conditions must be for cannabis cultivation, with Italy’s similarity to California climate. Let’s combine the two and toast what could be if things progressed to a normalized degree.
Danielle Guercio, 2017
Makes 12 oz, 5mg THC per shot
- Zest of 10 lemons
- 10 oz unflavored high proof vodka or everclear
- 2 tsp Cannabis glycerin tincture*
- ⅛ cup sugar
- ⅛ cup water
You should really know that you don’t want to used unwashed lemons for this recipe. Lemons almost always have ludicrous amounts of waxes and coatings to keep them fresh, so you have to wash them well.
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You can also dip in boiling water for 5 seconds and wipe with a towel. I can tell you they don’t have this problem in Italy, and the lemons are exponentially more fragrant.
Zest up your lemons, you can grate the skin if you are careful not to grate too much bitter pith, but I prefer to skin them with a knife or vegetable peeler. Collect in a large clean jar, and pour over your spirits.
After 2-3 weeks, you’ll see the peels start to give up their color, and the fragrance oils embedded in the skin will also be released.
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You can now strain out the peels and make the syrup that will sweeten it to a palatable degree and take down the alcohol content a little bit if you used Everclear to make the infusion.
To make the syrup, boil some water and mix equal parts with 1/8th cup sugar until it’s dissolved. Add the glycerin tincture, pour into the bottle with the lemon spirit, and shake well. Serve neat in a shot glass or tiny aperitif glass with a lemon peel for garnish.
*Cannabis Glycerin Tincture
In an oven safe container double sealed with foil, decarboxylate 3.5 grams finely ground cannabis at 225 degrees Fahrenheit. Put cannabis in a mason jar or vacuum sealed bag, pour over 2 oz vegetable glycerin and seal tightly. Place in a water bath at just under boiling for 1 hour. Strain and keep contents in a sterilized container. Stores indefinitely in freezer.
Lord knows this recipe is hands-off. It takes some time to create, but like our cannabis amaro, this ish is next level.
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Since we’re always trying to bring cannabis out into the beautiful sunshine, maybe or maybe not in Tuscany or the god awful Amalfi coast (pure sarcasm FYI), there’s no better marriage than the delightful and sometimes deadly composition of one of Italy’s most treasured local products with a sweet tincture. Try over some shaved ice for the most amazing summer granita you can dream up.
Photos: Danielle Guercio