Ever since the moment I was served a chilled glass of limoncello in a lemon garden in Sorrento, I fell in love with its citrus hearty flavor. Often, the limoncello you will find in the states is over sweetened and artificial tasting. But every so often, I’ll stumble upon an authentic, local Italian restaurant who serves their family’s homemade limoncello, instantly triggering me to reminisce of my time in Italy.
I’ve always wanted to take the time to make my own limoncello and now, I finally have and am ready to share with all of you. I prefer a less sweet, more tart version. It makes a lovely gift for friends and family and is surely something they will appreciate dearly. Though it takes time (about a month and a half), it’s a fairly simple process and is worth the wait in every way.
Homemade Limoncello Recipe
- 14 lemons
- 1.5 L. grain alcohol, Everclear (2 750ml. bottles)
- 6 cups of water
- 1 1/2 cups of sugar
- Big glass, sealable jar
After washing the lemons, use a potato peeler and peel the skins into a bowl. Be careful only to get the yellow part of the lemon peel, as the white part will make your limoncello bitter. Add the lemon peels to the big, sealable glass jar along with the grain alcohol. The reason you need such a strong alcohol for this has to do with the process of fermenting the alcohol. While it sits over a few weeks, the level of alcohol will actually decrease from the grain strength. Tightly seal the jar and place in a dark, cool place exposed to no sunlight at all for two weeks.
(Side note: Don’t throw the rest of those lemons away! Though you do not need the juice of the lemons to make this, juice them and freeze in containers for recipes in the future.)
After the two weeks are up, you are ready for stage two. In a medium saucepan, heat the water on the stove. Once warm, add in the sugar and dissolve to create your simple syrup. If you prefer a sweeter limoncello, add another cup of sugar. If you prefer the lemon flavor to be more predominant, leave it as is.
Meanwhile, put a strainer in a large bowl and pour your limoncello through, straining out all of the peels. Once your simple syrup comes together, add to your big jar along with the strained limoncello. You can discard the peels. Tightly close and place in a dark, cool place for another 3-4 weeks.
The wait is over! You may now bottle, serve, and share with your closest friends and family. 🙂