If you were to step inside our Magic City kitchen, you would find a few staples:

Magic City friends, meet my microplane. Best kitchen gadget. Ever.

Alecia’s Tomato Chutney – A simple pleasure, produced just a few miles down the road in Leeds, spreadably good on bread, biscuits, and really just about anything else edible in nature.

-On a good day, either a sourdough loaf from MIX bakery or some multi-grain slices from V. Richards. Both are a splurge, the former being the perfect medium for french toast and the latter just right for melting some creamy cheese on top.

Homemade limoncello – Boss started making this liquid treat not long after we were gifted with favorite Birmingham chef Frank Stitt’s Italian-inspired cookbook, and it has become our go-to for hostess gifts, for a topping on ice cream, and even a stir-in for homemade whipped cream. It is best, in my opinion, as a splash in a glass of celebratory sparkling, although Boss prefers it all by itself, after dinner.

Now, in the hopes that you’ll get something more from this post other than just my culinary isms, may I now direct you to grab your microplane… it’s time to make something zesty.

Don’t be shy… You’re gonna’ zest those lemons bare.

This really is a simple recipe that yields about two quarts (enough to stash away for your next hostess gift with plenty to spare for your own consumption). If you can stay motivated and follow the multi-step process, you’ll be sipping on this refreshing spirit before you can say “When life hands you a bowl of lemons”…

Behold, from Frank Stitt’s lovely (and well-used in this house) ‘Bottega Favorita’ cookbook:



Everything you need to create something amazing.

-Large bowl

-Two quart vessel


-Measuring cups


-Stirring wand

-Saucepan (for making simple syrup)


-Grated zest of 20 lemons

-Grated zest of 2 oranges

-1 bottle (750 ml) 190-proof clear grain alcohol

-6 ounces Grey Goose orange vodka or other orange vodka (We’re on a budget, so we typically use Stoli.)

-4 cups simple syrup (*see note, below)

Don't worry about all the leftover juice – it's perfect for making lemonade for all the little people in your life!

Make it:

-Combine the citrus zest, grain alcohol, and vodka in a large glass jar. Cover and set the jar in a cool, dark place for 7 to 10 days to infuse the alcohol with the flavorful citrus oils.

-Strain the alcohol into a large glass jar. Mix in the simple syrup, stirring to combine. Store the limoncello tightly sealed in the refrigerator, where it will keep for weeks. (We store ours in the freezer.)

-*Note: For simple syrup, combine equal parts water and sugar in a sauce pan. Heat until the sugar dissolves and simmer for 2 minutes. Remove from heat and let cool. Simple syrup keeps for weeks in a tightly sealed jar in the refrigerator.

Just a dab'll do ya'. And, no mind the bourbon glasses. 'Tis not the vessel that counts, after all.

Bottoms up!

Oh, and if you aren’t ready to craft your own ‘cello at home, might I recommend that you head on over to Forest Park and visit the ever-so-wickedly-clever Steva, Little Savannah’s resident mixologist. Every time we have the chance, we pull up a seat and ask her to work her magic, which always involves some variation of homemade ‘cello. I believe our last experience included “The Sound and the Fury”, followed by a gulp of her housemade smoked persimmon cello. I don’t remember much past Oh…My…Gawd…

Salud, ya’ll!

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