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A behind-the-scenes look at a happy-hour favorite: Limoncello

November 23, 2010 | 12:44 pm

Here's an early look at a story coming in this week's Food section:

It's easy enough to freehand your way into a decent bottle of limoncello. All you need is a generous handful of lemon zest, a neutral spirit, some sugar and patience for a couple of days of infusing. But to Ventura Limoncello's co-owner James Carling, decent is hardly the same as delizioso, at least in the eyes of his Italian in-laws.

"You have to watch each lemon, step by step," says his mother-in-law, Rossana Zaretti, in Italian-soaked English as she runs a citrus peeler from the top to the bottom of a locally grown Eureka lemon. She looks up at her son-in-law before continuing, "No pith." Read on to find out how Carling has turned this canary-yellow liqueur into a happy-hour favorite:


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Photo: Rossana Zaretti, center, and daughter Manuela Zaretti-Carling, with Manuela's husband, Ventura Limoncello co-owner James Carling, peel lemons for limoncello. Credit: Anne Cusack / Los Angeles Times