Limoncello is a lemon-flavoured Italian liqueur that gets its colour and flavour from the zest of lemons.
Making limoncello at home needs just four ingredients and is a simple task of macerating the lemon zest in high proof alcohol then adding sugar syrup. In this recipe we used high proof vodka (50% ABV) but you can use neutral grain spirit such as Everclear (95%) or Spiritus Rectificatus (90% ABV). As it macerates, the alcohol begins to take on the flavour and colour of the citrus and you end up with sunshine in a glass and a taste that transports you to Italy.
Note: Different recipes and personal tastes call for a different ratios of sugar to water, and if you use a lower ABV spirit, you’ll need less simple syrup. As a rule, we recommend you make the simple syrup in a 1:1 ratio then add the amount to taste.
Limoncello makes a good digestive and a refreshing drink in summer. Sip it neat from the freezer or chilled with ice or use it in cocktails. It makes a good boozy gift idea in summer or for the festive season.
How to Make Limoncello
- 8 large lemons
- 700 ml bottle of high proof vodka (50% ABV or 100 proof), or neutral spirit such as Everclear or Spiritus Rectificatus
- 2-4 cups white sugar – see note above
- 2-4 cups of water – see note above
Equipment: glass jar with tight lid, coffee filter
- Wash and dry the lemons to remove as much of the was as possible then peel in long strips. Cut off and discard any pith with a small paring knife.
- Put the lemon peel in a large glass jar with a tight lid, add vodka and seal the jar.
- Place in a cool, dark spot for a period of 10 days up to 40 days until the liquid takes on a yellow hue and the lemon peel starts to turn white.
- Strain the liquid into a clean glass jar and discard the lemon peel.
- In a saucepan, combine sugar and water on low heat until the sugar is completely dissolved.
- Let it cool then pour into the alcohol solution and leave it to rest at room temperature overnight.
- Strain the limoncello through a coffee filter or a soup bag to remove any residual solids.
- Transfer to bottles and store in the freezer until ready to serve.
Next… 3 Limoncello Cocktail Recipes to Quench Your Thirst
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