Updated: Jun 16, 2021
If there's ever a way to develop a "habit" for limoncello, try some lovely liquor store finds, and t h e n start making it for yourself (and some deserving people you love, if you have extra...😅)
Click to see my YouTube limoncello video HERE.
Read ahead for the written recipe! Hope you enjoy it, please leave me comments, and share this recipe with your limoncello loving friends!
Prep Time: 20-30 minutes plus 1-4 week steep time
Yield: Approximately 2 quarts (8 cups)
10-12 organic medium sized lemons with thick skins (or 6-8 jumbo or XL lemons)
1 750 ml bottle 100 proof good quality vodka or pure grain alcohol
3 cups water
3 cups white sugar
Tools Needed: Measuring Cups, Y Vegetable peeler, Funnel, Paring knife, 3 quart glass jar with screw top or hinged lid ( e.g. canning jar), 2 quart glass pyrex pitcher with spout, 3 quart saucepan, large wooden or heat proof spoon, fine mesh strainer, glass storage bottles with tops, cleaned, for final liqueur storage
Directions: Wash and scrub the lemons with hot water, then dry thoroughly. Using a vegetable peeler, remove the peel from the lemons in long strips, avoiding the white pith which would add unwanted bitterness. Using a paring knife, remove any white pith present in the lemon strips. Place the lemon peels in a 3-quart glass jar (hinged or screw top canning/ball jar).
Pour the vodka or pure grain alcohol over the lemon peels and seal. Steep the lemon peels in the vodka for 1-4 weeks, storing in a cool, dry place. Occasionally gently shake or stir the mixture. Once you notice the lemon peels are turning white, you may end the infusion process and proceed with the recipe. In my experience, 2-4 weeks of steeping time produces a delicious, deeply flavored limoncello.
After infusion time is over, strain the liquor/lemon peel mixture through a mesh strainer into the 2-quart Pyrex pitcher with spout. Discard the lemon peels.
Prepare the simple syrup: In a 3-quart saucepan over medium heat, stir in the sugar and water. Bring mixture to a boil, reduce heat slightly, and boil for 5-7 minutes, stirring frequently. Remove from heat and cool.
Once cool, pour the sugar syrup into the strained liquor and stir to combine. Pour the limoncello into final storage bottle(s). Seal the bottles and store in the refrigerator or freezer. I prefer the freezer. The limoncello will remain fresh in the freezer for at least 2 months (trust me, it won't last that long!)
Extra Luxurious Step: Before I put the limoncello in the freezer, I add a teaspoon or two of finely grated lemon zest to the liquid. People go crazy for it, because it creates a subtle refreshing yet unexpected bite of zing to the liqueur. Shake before pouring. It's SO good!!!
A few final notes:
* Some recipes for limoncello include the addition of the lemon's juice. I prefer to not add the juice, because I want the limoncello to freeze, and adding the additional juice disallows it from freezing. What I'm looking for in limoncello is a liqueur that exudes lemon oil, the fresh juice I can add if I need to when building a cocktail or drinking it over ice! Yet, adding the juice is a wonderful option!
* Get creative with citrus fruits/herbs to create your own liqueurs based on your favorite flavor combinations. More detailed info about this coming in future blog posts. 🥰
Links to a few indispensable tools used above which I use in my home kitchen:
2 quart pyrex pitcher with spout (helpful when pouring the liqueur into another storage container, also the perfect size to use as receptacle when straining the lemons from the liquor)