Lemon Week: How to make Limoncello!

[2 Sep 2009 | By | 16 Comment(s) | 17,789 views ]

Long time readers will be saying “Finally!”… I’ve been promising this tutorial for months. So here it is, and I hope you enjoy it. – Dot

Limoncello is an Italian lemon liqueur, tasty to sip by itself, use in cocktails, or whatever you would like to do with a cold tasty lemony alcoholic treat.  And you can make this with oranges, or any citrus fruit.  The steps are summarized below the slideshow ..  Click the slideshow to start viewing the pictures!

 

After much research, I decided on a recipe from the trusty E-Gullet forums.  Go there to read the full recipe, and lots of tips, but here is the summary.  I modified it a bit based on other recipes provided by friends and through the links on the forum.
Making Limoncello
Click to view on Flickr

  1. Lemons – Wash well. Organic or Homegrown lemons are recommended since you’re using the peel…
  2. You’ll also need vodka – 100 proof.
  3. Zest the lemons – A microplane grater is your best friend for this.  If you don’t have one, you should get one!
  4. Our lemons are now nude, and our zest is in a large jar, big enough to hold our fifth of vodka.
  5. Add your vodka, stir.   And now… we wait.  For at least 2 weeks–some recipes say 2 months!  Until your zest looks whitish and the liquid is a lovely yellow.
  6. Now, strain out that zest.  Use cheesecloth, a coffee filter would take forever.
  7. Now you basically have really strong lemon vodka.  Not a bad thing in itself, but it’s not limoncello.  You’ll need to add sugar, so heat up a 1:1 simple syrup, and stir until disolved.
  8. Add the syrup to your vodka mixture.
  9. At this point, (minor CraftFail!) my source recipe said to add another 750ml of 80 proof vodka.  I felt like, at least in my case, this really made it too strong, and I didn’t want to weaken the lemon flavor with too much more water or sugar.  So I’d suggest adding several cups of vodka, then taste.  Then add more sugar syrup, water, or vodka as desired to get a nice sippable liqueur.  Based on advice from another recipe, I let this stage sit a while too.
    Anyway, once it’s to your liking, bottle it up and stick it in the freezer, it’s excellent chilled!

NOTES:

  • One thing to remember is lemons are different sizes, obviously, and the strength of your lemon flavor is going to depend on how much zest you use.  If you think your lemons are small, USE MORE!
  • I did use the zest of one lime, as suggested in the recipe, but it’s not pictured here.

Recipe Resource: KatieLoeb – E-Gullet forums (There is a bunch of information, tips, and recipe ideas at this link, check it out)

Tomorrow:  What to do with the lemon juice!

Read all of Lemon Week…

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16 Comment(s) »

  • Cobwebs [] :

    I’ve used Everclear as the base as suggested at Limoncello Quest (http://limoncelloquest.com/), which not only seems to be able to draw more oil out of the peel but is also easier to cut with simple syrup without throwing off the alcohol balance.

    I had to have my dad bring me the Everclear when he came to visit because the stuff is illegal in my state(?!?), but that’s another story.

  • Fab [] :

    Hello, I always use agave syrup instead of sugar and 96% alcohol instead of vodka but I agree, chilled Limoncello is soooo delicious :)
    http://rollerkitchen.unblog.fr/2008/03/23/aujourdhui-apres-le-menu-du-limoncello-maison-mmmh/
    Fab

  • kim taylor- - - the sassy crafter [] :

    I was so excited to see this tutorial mentioned on Twitter via @avgjanecrafter and @Craft. I recently discovered limoncello and am in love with it. Thanks for sharing the recipe!

  • regina [] :

    oh yummy!! I’ve been want to try this. Thanks for the recipe and tips!

  • Dot [] (author) :

    Thanks for visiting, all of you!

    Yes, I thought about using Everclear (it IS legal here), but I’d read that it could make it harsher.. good to know for future reference.

    The agave syrup is a great idea too!

  • Heather - Dollar Store Crafts [] :

    I love lemon week.

  • Arjan [] (elsewhere) discussed this :

    Dabbled » Blog Archive » Lemon Week: How to make Limoncello! http://tinyurl.com/kww8al

  • ayesha rashid [] (elsewhere) discussed this :

    Dabbled » Blog Archive » Lemon Week: How to make Limoncello! http://bit.ly/YR6cv

  • Adrianne George [] (elsewhere) discussed this :

    Dabbled » Blog Archive » Lemon Week: How to make Limoncello! http://tinyurl.com/kww8al

  • sara smith [] (elsewhere) discussed this :

    Dabbled » Blog Archive » Lemon Week: How to make Limoncello! http://bit.ly/YR6cv

  • TWEET_RECIPES [] (elsewhere) discussed this :

    Dabbled » Blog Archive » Lemon Week: How to make Limoncello!: my source recipe said to add another 750ml of 80 p.. http://bit.ly/YR6cv

  • TWEET_RECIPE [] (elsewhere) discussed this :

    Dabbled » Blog Archive » Lemon Week: How to make Limoncello!: my source recipe said to add another 750ml of 80 p.. http://bit.ly/YR6cv

  • giaguara [] (elsewhere) discussed this :

    [del.icio.us] Dabbled » Blog Archive » Lemon Week: How to make Limoncello! http://bit.ly/YR6cv

  • Fred Groth [] :

    It is great to see every bodies interest in Limoncello. It has been a passion and dream of my wife and I to produce a small batch commercial Limoncello in California. After a year of planning and legal issues we have finally released our first product, Limoncello di Sonoma.

    Check us out at http://www.hellosonoma.com
    Facebook: Hellocello – Limoncello di Sonoma

    HelloCello’s “Limoncello di SonomaTM” is the first premium Limoncello produced using 100% certified organic ingredients. Limoncello di Sonoma is made in the heart of Sonoma’s wine country using a small-batch, handcrafted all natural process. HelloCello’s Limoncello is a classic artisan aperitif and digestive as well as the ultimate modifier for today’s cocktail culture. Our recipe and craft process is a combination of an age-old recipe, modern technology and socially and environmentally responsible best business practices.

    The difference: Limoncello di Sonoma uses the best available 100% certified organic ingredients from a network of local small farmers and producers in Northern California. Our use of high-quality organic ingredients and California craft distilled biodynamic wine grapes come together to produce a fresh, crisp, juicy and natural alternative to the imported mass-produced industrial Limoncellos available in US markets.

  • Amanda [] (elsewhere) discussed this :

    yum homemade lemoncello http://dabbled.org/2009/09/lemon-week-how-to-make-limoncello.html

  • Maria Apostolou [] (elsewhere) discussed this :

    In case you don't know what to do with lemons, check this out: "Lemon Week: How to make Limoncello!" http://tinyurl.com/ydkpyqb