Homemade Limoncello

This homemade Limoncello take a while to brew, but the wait will be worth it.

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• Food & Drink: DIY • Food & Drink: Recipes

Beth Anderson's Take

  • 15-20 lemons - clean, unwaxed with nice plump skins. The skins should give off a lemon scent, don't get ones that don't smell delightful.

  • 2 (750-ml) bottles 80-proof vodka or Everclear because it's pure and doesn't have any sugar in it.

  • 4-6 cups water

  • 2-4 cups sugar (more if you want it thicker or sweeter)


For this recipe you also need a 2-3 litre glass jar with a sealed lid. The jar should be washed and rinsed very well or sterilized. You don't want anything in your Limoncello but what you put there.

I use some sun tea jars. You will also need the bottles you want to put the final brew in. I get mine at Cost Plus and I save nice glass bottles from other beverages I've purchased that have good reusable tops.

I use a three-step process.

Step 1
Wash and dry the lemons. Only use the ones without blemished peels or pare off any spots and the stem ends.

Remove the peel from the lemons with a sharp peeler or fine grater, carefully avoiding the bitter white pith. If any white pith remains on the back of a strip of peel, scrape it off. If you get any of the white part in the batch, the Limoncello will be bitter and you don't want that!

Put the peels in a glass jar and add the vodka and/or Everclear about two inches below the top and seal tightly.

Leave the jar to steep in a cool, dark place until the peels lose their color, at least 2 weeks. I leave mine for at least 2-3 months. Every couple of weeks I swirl the peels around in the jar to mix up the oils in the alcohol, plus I just like to check in on it!

Step 2
Put the water and sugar in a saucepan, stir and slowly boil until it turns clear. Let the syrup cool.
Put the cooled syrup in the jar with the lemons (you might have to divide the batch into two jars at this point, depending on the size of your jar).

Put the jars back in the closet for at least two weeks. Longer is fine too.

Step 3
Strain out the lemon peels through a coffee filter or cheesecloth. Pour the Limoncello into another container. Press down to remove all the vodka and oils that you can from the peels before tossing them in the trash.

Stir the liquid with a clean plastic or wooden spoon.

Put the liqueur in clean bottles, seal tightly, and leave the finished bottles for at least 1 week before using.

For best flavor and drinking it straight, store the Limoncello in the freezer. It shouldn't freeze because of how much alcohol is in it and it's wonderful ice cold.

Tips
Take your time peeling the lemons. Don't get any of the white underbelly of the skin in the batch. I use a very sharp paring knife or a potato peeler.

Use organic lemons or at least ones you know where they came from.
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Beth Anderson
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