My Traditional Limoncello Recipe

If you love entertaining Italian style, this is a must-do Limoncello recipe best done a couple of months in advance. So now is the perfect time to get a batch started for summer evenings to come.

Once you taste the first bottle, you'll want to start on the next one so you won't have to wait too long for this delicious liqueur.

Limoncello liqueur is usually an after-dinner drink, or digestivo, but there are no rules that say you can't enjoy it on a summer afternoon.

There are 4 main ingredients: Vodka, lemon zest, water, and sugar.

Oh, and lots of time for infusing and melding of flavors.

You'll see quicker Limoncello recipes in various places, but for a truly authentic Limoncello liqueur, you need a little patience for good results.

I prefer to use organic ingredients for the sake of purity and health. I like to use a Vodka made from grapes, like the Ciroc brand, but you probably already have a favorite brand.

The Authentic Limoncello Recipe

Limoncello Ingredients

Lemon zest

Zest from 6 organic lemons

A fifth of Vodka (750ml)

1 1/2 cups of sugar - superfine granulated, caster, or raw sugar

2 cups (16 ounces) of pure water

How to Make Limoncello Liqueur

Infuse the Alcohol

Thoroughly wash the lemons, first with vinegar, then rinse with water. Use a vegetable brush to scrub gently, if you have one.

Zest the lemons with a knife, vegetable peeler, or mandolin slicer. Be sure you don't get any of the white pith inside the peel because that will make it bitter. You only want the yellow peel, which is very thin.

Combine the vodka and lemon zest in a jar, or the original vodka bottle. Seal well, and store in a dark place at room temperature for about 30 days. I usually find a dark corner in a kitchen cabinet, but make sure it is away from appliances that might vary the temperature.

Sweeten the Alcohol to Make the Liqueur

Dissolve the sugar in pure water. If your tap water is chlorinated, you may want to buy spring water for this step.

Heat the water and sugar mixture until the sugar is fully dissolved, then cool.

Combine with the infused alcohol and return to the dark cupboard for another 30 to 45 days.

Decant Your Finished Limoncello Liqueur

Limoncello Liqueur

Finally! Your Limoncello recipe is complete!

Strain your liqueur through a fine mesh screen or cheesecloth lined colander to remove the zest. In a pinch you can use coffee filters, but I think I can taste the paper sometimes.

After it is well strained, just pop it in the freezer. Try your authentic Limoncello.

At this point you can adjust to suit your taste. If it seems too thick and sweet, add pure water. If you like it sweeter, add more sugar syrup. Make a note to your recipe for the next batch.

And by the way, this is a good time to start on the next batch, right?


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