Limoncello: Christmas 2016 Beverage

UPDATE AND CAUTION!  We drank the first quart right after it was made, and it was delicious.  Perhaps I wasn’t quite as careful as I should have been about excluding white matter under the peel, since there was slightly bitter after-taste, but in any case, it was delightful.  I put the other two quarts away for the Holidays; Thanksgiving came and I opened one.  Major disappointment.  Most of the lemony goodness was gone!  I finished the Limoncello on 9/25, so this was after aging only one month.



This recipe will make three quarts of limoncello, a lemon cordial from Italy.  I’ve never had Limoncello before, and loved the result.

  • Peel three pounds of large lemons (I used a sack from Sam’s).  Remove as little of the white layer under the hard, yellow peel as possible, as this will add a bitter after-taste.
  • Empty 1.5 liter bottle of 100 proof Smirnoff vodka into another container, put the peels in the bottle, add the vodka back in and seal the bottle.  This will leave some vodka to use elsewhere.
  • Let sit for a month.  Periodically flip the bottle around to mix up the peels.
  • Strain out the peels and discard.  Pour vodka-lemon mixture into three quart jars — will fill each jar about half way.
  • Bring 4 cups of water just to boil, turn off heat, add 4 cups of sugar, mix until sugar is dissolved, cover and wait until cool — a few hours.
  • Fill the three quart jars the rest of the way with the sugar solution, which will fill the jars.
  • Add 1/8 teaspoon sea salt and 2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice to each jar.
  • Mix and the Limoncello is complete.

Serve on ice.

The Limoncello recipes I have read don’t include the lemon juice or salt, but I tasted it before and after and these are excellent additions.

After the peel is removed from the lemons, that leaves a lot of lemon juice in the lemons, so juice them!  Freeze 2 tablespoons (strained) for use in the Limoncello a month later.  The rest can also be frozen, but fresh lemonade is easy and delicious:

  • 1.5 cups lemon juice
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 8 cups water

Mix until the sugar dissolved.  A little salt is great in lemonade, too.  As is left-over 100 proof vodka 🙂

2 thoughts on “Limoncello: Christmas 2016 Beverage

  1. You’ll want to get only peel and no white when you do it. Trying to remove the white later would be very hard. I used a vegetable peeler and must gotten more white than ideal because there is a slight bitter aftertaste, though it’s still quite good and my husband says I’m being too hard on myself and loves it. If I do it again I’ll invest in an actual lemon peeler. Something like this.

  2. I’ve been wanting to make this for a while now. Thanks for the recipe. I do have a question though. Do you remove as much of the white layer as you can or as little as you can when preparing the lemon peels? ?