The best vacation trip we have ever taken was to Italy. The food, the history, the wine and the Limoncello did not disappoint!
I just recently discovered that you can make homemade Limoncello and today I’m sharing How to Make Limoncello Recipe that is so easy.
When we visited Italy, we brought limoncello home with us but it’s long gone. I was exploring a dessert recipe that calls for limoncello and realized that it’s actually easy to make.
I explored several online recipes and I used a combination of suggestions from each. Here is how I made my recipe and what I learned along the way.
What is Limoncello?
Limoncello is a delicious citrus liqueur that originated in Italy.
I was surprised to find that Limoncello is just a combination of simple ingredients which include lemon zest, vodka, sugar and water.
You only need a few simple tools and about a week to have your own homemade limoncello.
What is Limoncello used for?
In Italy Limoncello may be served straight at the beginning of the meal or at the end of meal to help with digestion.
Because of the high alcoholic content, it is usually served cold in a small cup or shot glass. However, it isn’t meant to be taken in one shot but rather sipped and savored.
In addition, Italians would never dilute the flavor with ice. Therefore, it’s great to keep in the freezer and enjoy ice cold.
It’s also great served over gelato or cheesecake. There are many dessert recipes that include limoncello as well.
You will also find many US cocktails which include limoncello as an ingredient. You can see some of the recipes I found on this post.
Homemade Limoncello Recipe
When you read about the origins of limoncello, you will find that the lemons are picked directly from the trees in Carpi and are not allowed to touch the ground.
Oh well! The best I could do was purchase organic lemons from the grocery store. LOL
I’m sure that a lemon picked fresh from a tree in Italy would make perfect limoncello but this version isn’t bad if I say so myself.
Limoncello Recipe – Lemon Zest
Begin by washing lemons throughly and allowing them to dry.
Then remove the zest from 8-10 lemons with either a vegetable peeler or a lemon zester. I personally found the zester worked best to remove only the yellow zest and leave the white pith. You don’t want to include the white pith part of the peel because it will cause the limoncello to be bitter.
Start Limoncello Recipe Infusion
Begin by sterilizing the container that you are placing mixture into. I washed the container and then poured boiling water over it as well.
Pour the lemon zest into a glass jar with a sealable lid and add the vodka.
Place the sealed jar in a cool, dark place. Stir the contents daily and wait 1 to 2 weeks before removing. I placed mine in the pantry.
- 1 - 750 ml vodka 100 proof
- 10- Lemon Zest
- 2 cups sugar
- 2 cups water
- Remove the zest from 10 lemons with a vegetable peeler or lemon zester being careful to remove only the thin yellow layer. Do not remove the white pith that lies underneath the yellow zest.
- Place zest in a jar with a sealable lid and add the 750 ml of vodka.
- Seal jar and place in a cool dark spot.
- Infuse the vodka with the lemon zest for 1 - 2 weeks. The longer you allow the mixture to sit, the more flavorful the limoncello will be.
- Stir mixture daily.
- Strain the zest from the vodka using a fine lemon strainer or coffee filter.
- Make a simple syrup with 1 part water to 1 part sugar.
- Bring water to a boil and mix in sugar until dissolved.
- You can begin with 2 cups of each to add to your vodka infused mixture. If this mixture is stronger than you like, you can continue to add the same ratio until you are pleased with the taste.
- The more simple syrup added, the less alcoholic your limoncello will be.
- Use a funnel to pour the limoncello into sealable bottles.
I found that it was much easier to grate the lemon zest with a lemon zester. The vegetable peeler was harder to control and easier to cut into the white pith which will make the limoncello more bitter.
It only takes a few days for the majority of the lemon flavor to be infused in the vodka, therefore within the first week, you will have very tasty limoncello.
I waited 9 days before removing the zest from the infused vodka.
2 cups of water and 2 cups of sugar were perfect for our mixture. If you prefer a sweeter limoncello add additional water and sugar mixture until you reach your desired taste.
What to do with the lemons
Y’all know I’m a waste not kind of girl and throwing away 10 perfectly good lemons was not going to happen.
First, I made a pitcher of The Perfect Fresh Lemonade which took 1 cup of the fresh lemon juice. Although it’s winter, the lemonade was very tasty.
Next, there was exactly 1/4 cup of lemon juice left over and that’s how much I will need for a recipe I’m making next week. I placed in the freezer until I’m ready for the lemon juice.
If you don’t have an immediate use for the lemon juice, pour into ice cube trays and freeze. You can transfer to a freezer bag once frozen and use as needed in recipes.
Be sure to check out this tasty dessert recipe that will include this homemade limoncello and the leftover lemon juice as well.
Nine Days Later
Okay, I didn’t make it the full two weeks, however I’m very happy with the recipe.
On day nine, it was time to stain the infused vodka, eliminating any lemon zest from the liquid. I used a lemon strainer but a coffee filter will work as well.
Place your stained liquid in a pitcher or other container to add the simple syrup.
I’ve read several recipes and the amount of water and sugar vary. I decided to start with the lowest amount to be cautious.
Bring 2 cups of water to a boil and add 2 cups of sugar until dissolved.
Mix the simple syrup with the infused vodka and taste to test.
I’m so glad I was cautious because my husband and I both felt the limoncello was perfect with this combination.
Time to Fill the Bottles
You will have approximately 32 to 40 ounces of Limoncello and you will need bottles that have been sterilized and can be sealed.
Use a funnel to fill your bottles.
I choose to use a larger bottle to keep and a couple small bottles to use as gifts.
You can use creative ways to label your bottles. This is just a cute chalkboard tag.
You can see how to make the Boxwood and Lemon Topiaries here.
I hope you try this recipe. I’ll be sharing a Limoncello Tart Recipe using this homemade liqueur later this week.
Thanks so much for stopping by and I look forward to sharing my next adventure with you.
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