Limoncello is an Italian liqueur made from hard alcohol, lemon zest and sugar. It’s like bringing the sent of the lemon zest into a drink. Could you imaging anything better? - Not really, right? My first encounter with limoncello was with a store bought version. And I was really disappointed. The synthetic lemon flavor were really off-putting.
Fast-forward 5-8 years. Our lemon tree was booming with fruits. I wanted to give homemade limoncello a try. Trying to preserve the fantastic lemon flavor, without getting the bitterness. Especially the latter have been the pittfall for others, or so I was told. So I was a bit nervous when it was time to taste my own batch. I tasted the lemon-infused vodka, and it was strong, very STRONG. Tasting the final result, finally calmed me. I had been able to create what limoncello should taste like. A sweet lemon taste, without the bitterness. And served over a lot of ice, it was just perfect.
You can serve the lemoncello over ice, mixed with sparkling water or in cocktails. Or you can pour it over ice cream or in this delicious Limoncello/Liquorice Tiramisu.
Makes 8 x 475 ml bottles.
25 organic lemons
1.75 liter 100 proof vodka (I used a blue Smirnoff)
1300 g sugar
1.75 liter water
Wash the lemons with a brush and hot water to remove any reside of pesticides or wax, pat the lemons dry.
Peel the lemons with a sharp knife or a potato peeler. Be careful to only get the yellow zest, cutting away any of the white part, otherwise the limocello gets too bitter. Place the lemon zest in a large, glass jar with a tight-fitting lid. Pour the vodka over the lemon peel, tighten the lid of the jar. Give the jar a gentle swirl, to make sure you get the best extraction of flavors. Store in a cool, dark place for 15-40 days, swirling the jar daily. I’m not sure if the swirling is totally necessary, but I did it anyway. The longer the mixture rests, the better the end taste will be. I had mine in a cool hallway closet.
When the now lemon-infused vodka is ready, strain out the bulk of the lemon peel, set aside. Bring sugar and water to a boil in a large pan over high heat. When boiling, remove pan from heat and stir in the lemon peel. Let the mixture sit and cool to room temperature. Strain out and discard the lemon peel. Carefully mix the syrup with the lemon-infused vodka, and filter the entire mixture through a funnel into clean bottles. I have a fine mesh strainer for my funnel, so I won’t get any small lemon particles in my limoncello.
As soon as the limoncello is chilled, it is ready to drink. The flavor and texture will be best ice-cold. I store my limoncello in the freezer, but it freezes solid. I guess the alcohol content is too low to stay liquid.
Serve the limoncello over ice, perfect for sipping on a hot day.