FROM OUR RECIPE ARCHIVES: Judge Pesce’s Limoncello

Brooklyn Supreme Court Justice Michael Pesce makes limoncello in Carroll Gardens using culinary geranium–an ingredient he discovered on the Amalfi Coast (read the story here in our sister publication Edible Brooklyn). The citrus-scented herb grows in the city, too, but with or without it, making limoncello at home is a snap. A few sips of the potent lemony drink, served chilled over ice, can’t be beat after a long, hot summer day.

Judge Pesce’s Limoncello

400 grams alcohol (whole-grain alcohol–legally available from our friends in Jersey–is best, but vodka will do)
A leaf of culinary geranium, optional
Zest from 3 organic lemons. Be careful to avoid the bitter white pith
400 grams sugar
400 grams water

1. Put the alcohol in a large, sterilized jar. Add the lemon zest and a leaf of malvarosa. Cover and let the mixture seep for at least 3 weeks in a cool, dark place. Shake the jar once or twice a week.

2. Make a simple syrup by boiling the sugar in water until crystals are completely dissolved. Let cool.

3. Strain the lemon mixture into a clean bottle, discarding the peels and leaf; add the simple syrup. Let infusion mature for another 3 weeks. Serve cold over ice.

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