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 🙂

2016 Christmas Beverage: Limoncello

I’ve been thinking about making limoncello for years, and this will be the year, because I remembered in time.  Limoncello is vodka in which lemon peels have soaked for at least a month which is afterward strained and mixed with simple syrup (sugar boiled in water).  I intend to use the recipe linked below, except I’ll start it this weekend and leave the lemon infusing in the vodka for two months before straining it and adding the simple syrup.  As with any infusing of flavor from one place to another, heat (to a certain extent) will help and as I intend to mix the vodka and lemon and put it in the garage to age, now seems like a good time to start it.  I suspect three cups of sugar and water will be the amount of syrup needed, but like the recipe advises I’ll start with one cup and work my way up.

First paragraph of the linked article and recipe:  “It has taken me far too long to discover how amazing — and how astoundingly easy — it is to make my own limoncello. I had this hazy idea that limoncello must be a closely guarded secret kept by a sect of weathered Italian grandfathers with wooly driving caps and secretive, knowing smiles. Just me? Well, it turns out all you need to make truly incredible limoncello are some good lemons, a bottle of stiff vodka, and just a little patience.”

How To Make Limoncello