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Apr 26, 2007 09:00 AM

Homemade Limoncello question

I have the zest of 20 lemons soaking in a bottle's worth of Everclear. It's been infusing for a week now.

Problem is, I just came across a recipe that looks more like what I'm going for (traditional, with plenty of end product):

I actually have another bottle of Everclear, ready to go. Would it be a bad thing to pop open that jar, pour it in, and let it soak for another week? Is that enough time for the lemony-goodness to soak into that johnny-come-lately alcohol?

Also, as far as a cool, dark place... would the fridge be too cool? The pantry too warm? I live in AZ, so the house is never particularly cool.

I don't know if I can commit to shaking the jar twice a day for 3 weeks. Other recipes say just to pop in the freezer after adding the syrup. Do I HAVE to add jar-shaking to my daily schedule?

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  1. Let the stuff infuse for at least a month. The zest should soak long enough to lose most of its color and go almost white.

    20 lemons worth of zest is a lot for one bottle of pure grain alcohol. I use about 3/4 that amount.

    That recipe seems a bit more like most I have seen and makes a much larger batch. I would use what you have and add the additional alcohol. Remember that you want the final product to be between 70 to 80 proof, 35 to 40% alcohol. So figure that in when you add water / syrup.

    Cool, dark usually means 55-65 degrees. What is considered "cellar" temperature. I feel that for infusing spirits any temp. between 50-75 degrees is fine, but a fridge is too cool and extends the time considerably. Your pantry should be just fine.

    3 Replies
    1. re: JMF

      I think anything past 10 days in not necessary. I started it out in the basement but subsequent batches have been in the kitchen counter, closet ...etc with no difference in taste / color. I've also tried Orange and Lime. My family (old family Italian) thought lime was blasphemy until they tasted it. The reason I go through so much is that I use it for cooking. I've even made the Orange and infused it with some ginger. Made the greatest pork ribs one time with that and some fennel

      1. re: pashibaboy

        That orange-ginger version sounds divine. I also saw a limoncello with a vanilla bean added, that sounded mighty fine. But my first time out, I wanted to start with the most basic. Next time though, anything goes!

      2. re: JMF

        Thanks for the tips. I didn't read this til this morning, but I think I did the right thing last night. I added the other bottle. It still has a nice strong yellow color, but it did get a little cloudy (see attached photo). Maybe because I just agitated it.

        Though I did use 20 lemons, there were rather small and thin-skinned.

      3. Last time I made limoncello I used about 8 lemons for 750ml of alcohol, I let them sit for about 3 weeks, in a not all that dark place, I didn't shake them much, more an 'if I'm passing the bottle' thing than a 'must shake the limoncello' thing. It seems to be fairly forgiving, just taste it before you finally bottle it - you can make adjustments after all...

        4 Replies
        1. re: ali patts

          True that. I keep reminding myself not to stress about it. Seems like it's actually pretty hard to screw up.

          1. re: grrlscout

            True, it is hard to screw up. Actually, I find the real trick is to find the correct proportions of alcohol to syrup. My simple syrup is 1:1 sugar / water and I dilute the alcohol to about 60 proof. Just my preference. I had to play with it. I have a local bar that sells Grolsh and they give me the bottles for free !! Great way to bottle it and give to freinds

            1. re: pashibaboy

              LOL -- I snuck a Grolsch bottle out of the bar for the same purpose. It's been rolling around in the floorboards every since. The Grolsches would be perfect for gifting a lot of people.

              I also have two ... um... 1.5L? baled bottles from IKEA. You can see one of them in the second pic I posted. I tried to find it on the IKEA website, but they don't have it on there. I also saved one of the Everclear bottles.

              Thanks for the tip on the syrup!

              1. re: grrlscout

                The Container Store ( has a good selection of bottles that are fine for gifts.
                I made Limoncello from this recipe and it is delicious! Also used limes and oranges, strawberries and marionberries next!


        2. I suppose this is blasphemy, but I like to make it with vodka - maybe I can't call it limoncello. Purchase 750mL of vodka. Sample about 2oz. of vodka. Load 1/2 to 3/4 cup loosely packed citrus zest (I love a blend of oranges, lemons and limes) into the bottle. Let it rest in your pantry for a week for full flavor.

          1. Thought you all might want to hear about the final results.

            The recipe filled more than 3 750ml bottles.Though I ended up filling 2, a Groslch bottle, and 2/3 of one of the Everclear bottles. I gave away one of the big baled bottles. The Grolsch is going to my mom. The Everclear bottle is the house / sampling bottle, and the remaining baled bottle will be for entertaining.

            In all, I am pleased with the flavor. It is VERY lemony! It was a little harsh when I first combined the infusion and the syrup, but seemed to mellow out once it got cold.

            Though next time, I think I may use half grain alcohol and half 100 proof vodka.

            I am attaching a photo or the results (minus the house bottle).