Limoncello Recipe

Limoncello, I love thee to the depth and breadth and height of my soul!!! You are tart, sweet and strong! And enjoyed throughout Italy. Just as promised in my previous post, I’d love to share my recipe to make limoncello from scratch. Although, considered a summer aperitif, I will drink limoncello any time of the year and love to have several bottles on hand as gifts to friends. Lemons are abundant in Cinque Terre and limoncello has become a staple for post dinner drinks, often brought gratis to the table at restaurants to round up your meal. Families in Italy pass down recipes for generations perfecting them with their own unique twist.  Not surprisingly, this lemon liquor is now considered the national drink of Italy and can be found in stores and restaurants all over Italy. But we don’t search easy ways, we make our own limoncello!

To Make Limoncello You’ll Need:

  • 8 large organic lemons
  • Zester or potato peeler
  • 750ml bottle of Everclear
  • Paper towels
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 3 cups water
  • 1 air-tight glass jar

First you need to wash the lemons with warm water and mild soap. I choose organic lemons to avoid artificial waxes and pesticides put onto commercial produce. Since we are zesting the outside to create limoncello it becomes super important to choose the cleanest product. While you zest the lemon, you need to get as much yellow and as little white as possible since white part is what gives bitter flavor to the lemon rind. Micro zester is usually preferred to a peeler since you get more control over how much you peel but both can work perfectly. Go ahead and zest 8 lemons and toss the zest into a large air-tight jar.

Pour 3 cups (about one 750ml) bottle of Everclear over the lemon zest. Seal and shake. Set the bottle aside in a dark, cool place and leave it for two weeks. For the first week shake it up every other day but in the second week leave it completely alone.

limoncello_2After the second week, get the jar out and take out the zest by pouring the liquid into a separate container. Wash and dry the original air tight jar as you will need it again for filtering. To filter some people prefer to use drip coffee paper cones but I simply layer paper towel and pour the liquid through it. Just make sure to layer it pretty well so it holds up. Believe me it works just as well. In a separate saucer, melt two cups of sugar into 3 cups of water. Heat to boil and stir until sugar and water turn into syrup. Turn off and let the mixture cool. After it cooled, add it to the lemon liquid and give the jar a good shake. The liquid should have a faint yellow color. Now comes the most difficult part – the wait. Put it in a cool, dark place again and let it sit for a full month this time. Don’t shake it or taste…leave it completely alone 🙂  After 4 weeks, open up the jar and pour the liquor into bottles that will fit into your freezer. Keep it there from now on as limoncello is best served ice-cold.

Now that you are armed with this easy recipe, go ahead give it a go. It really is simple – the wait is the hardest part. Please share your stories or alternative recipies that worked for you!